Music-Folk Scene: Silly Wizard, Deacon Blue and Caro Emerald

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This week, listening to a Scottish folk group with glam rock sounding name, a Scottish popular music group with a religious sounding name and a Dutch girl with a precious sounding name…

Silly Wizard – So Many Partings (1979)
Silly Wizard produced one of the finest Scottish folk albums ever recorded with ‘So Many Partings’ – the theme of the album is in the name – a sense of loss pervades the album. The loss of love; the destruction of the heart of the highlands after the clearances; the loss of times past and a more innocent age. Silly Wizard’s rare musicianship, intelligence and sensitively produced this touching work.

This week, listening to a Scottish folk group with glam rock sounding name, a Scottish popular music group with a religious sounding name and a Dutch girl with a precious sounding name…

Silly Wizard – So Many Partings (1979)
Silly Wizard produced one of the finest Scottish folk albums ever recorded with ‘So Many Partings’ – the theme of the album is in the name – a sense of loss pervades the album. The loss of love; the destruction of the heart of the highlands after the clearances; the loss of times past and a more innocent age. Silly Wizard’s rare musicianship, intelligence and sensitively produced this touching work.

‘The Valley of Strathmore’, a beautiful song written by Andy M. Stewart, recounts the regret of a man who left to seek his fortune in the New World only to realise true fortune was the lassie he left behind in Strathmore (the big plain). A change of pace with the battle song ‘Donald McGillivray – stirs the blood – Phil Cunningham’s accordion is wild and charges along the battlefield with Donald. ‘The Highland Clearances’ is loss of roots, identity ripped apart – the musical ending fused onto the end is one of the most haunting airs ever written. The album ends with ‘Wi’ My Dog and Gun’ – a gentle song harkening back to a different era, an ill-fated romantic parting that believes their loss may be resolved in another life.

Track: (1) Scarce O’Tatties / Lyndhurst (2) The Valley Of Strathmore (3) Bridget O’Malley (Brid Og Ni Mhaille) (4) A.A. Cameron’s Strathspey / Mrs. Martha Knowles / The Pitnacree Ferryman / The New Shillin (5) Donald McGillavry / O’Neill’s Cavalry Marc (6/7) The Highland Clearances/Miss Catherine Brosnan (8) Wi’ My Dog and Gun (9) Miss Shepherd / Sweeney’s Buttermilk / McGlinchey’s Reels

Donald McGillavry (LIVE)

Bonus: accordion madness with Silly Wizard: A.B. Corsi (The Lad from Orkney) -Ril Bheara-Richard Dwyer’s Reels

Deacon Blue – Raintown (2006, Legacy Edition)
Scotland in the 1980s produced some good bands and some great bands – one which went on to international fame and success was Deacon Blue with their album Raintown. Originally released in 1987, the album grew and grew by word of mouth till they had one huge hit on their hands – reaching number 14 in the UK album chart and remaining in the charts for a year and a half – it has to date sold around a million copies.

The intro ‘Born in a Storm’ contains one of the best lines ever, ‘Born in a storm, is that the only excuse you can give’. Massively popular songs from the album include ‘Dignity’ – an anthem for the hopes and dreams of the ordinary working man. ‘Chocolate Girl’ – by the time Chocolate Girl was a hit they were a big band.

The Legacy Edition has been beautifully digitally remastered, that’s the one to buy – it contains a second CD with Live versions of all the studio album songs and some bonus tracks. A combination of great singing, classic recordings and a number of classic hit songs A 1980s band? No, a lot more than that – see the 2007 live video clip.

Legacy Edition Bonus CD [2006]
Track:(1) Born in a Storm (2) Raintown (3) Ragman (4) He Looks Like Spencer Tracy Now (5) Loaded (6) When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring) (7) Chocolate Girl (8) Dignity (9) The Very Thing (10) Love’s Great Fears (11) Town to Be Blamed

Dignity (LIVE – 2007)

Bonus: – Town To Be Blamed (LIVE)
1992 INTERVIEW with Ricky Ross discussing Artists for Independence

Caro Emerald – Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor (2010)
Female singers from the Netherlands are doing some very interesting things these days – Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw is a conservatory trained Dutch jazz vocalist. Emerald’s debut single in 2009, ‘Back It Up’, was immediately followed by her smash hit album, ‘Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor’. The album set an all-time record, occupying the Dutch album chart number 1 spot for a total of 27 weeks – becoming the biggest selling album ever in the Netherlands.

The album contains classics and every song is effortlessly great – greatness is usually all in a day’s work for the talented. These songs kick up a storm of styles: big-band jazz, swing, mambo, rumba and lounge, as big rich vocals weave the kind of witty, intriguing stories. ‘That Man’ is Cotton Club big band meets 21st century recording studio with a modern twist. Absolutely Me is Cab Calloway à la drum machine. New Orleans-style syncopation jives along in ‘Dr Wanna Do’. ‘A Night Like This’ is a tango with a tingle. A modern classic certainly, an enjoyable ride, absolutely. Female singers from the Netherlands are doing some very interesting things these days…

Track: (1) That Man (2) Just One Dance (3) Riviera Life (4) Back It Up (5) The Other Woman
(6) Absolutely Me (7) You Don’t Love Me (8) Dr. Wanna Do (9) Stuck (10) I Know That He’s Mine (11) A Night Like This (12) The Lipstick On His Collar

A Night Like This (LIVE)

Bonus: – That Man (LIVE)
Just One Dance (LIVE)