Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Kiss the Tears Away
Genres: Folk, World Music, New Age, Pop
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Kiss the Tears Away by Silly Wizard
email@example.com | 03/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Silly Wizard is one of my favorite folk groups, along with the Corries and the McCalmans, and this is one of my favorite folk records. A word of critique first: Unfortunately there is not enough information in the notes. I would like to have song texts and glosses, as well as the particular instruments played by each of the four members on each track. Especially interesting to know would be, for example, more about the "Queen of Argyll", a beatuiful song written by lead singer Andy M. Stewart. According to an English friend, Argyll is in southern Scotland, and the song text would refer to a very pretty girl from this area. Likewise the rivers Bann and Lee, Glentown, Galtee and Loch Tay are geographic details unfamiliar to me which I would like to know more about without having to visit the library. (Incidentally, what does "silly wizard" refer to? A Scots dictionary I consulted gives senses of "silly" such as sad, or mournful, deserving of pity. Does the term come from folklore or a particular story or myth?)Now for the contents of the CD, Andy M. Stewart does the lead singing with a hint of Phil Cunningham in the background. (He is not the famous Andy Stewart whom I associate with the legendary Jimmy Shand.) Andy M. has a really rich, reflective and moving voice, which often moves this listener to tears. He has the right voice for the sad, somewhat sentimental folk love songs on this CD.
The accompaniments are tasteful, careful and balanced. They show that extra amount of care which makes them stand out from others, while always complementing the vocals and staying in the background. There is a varied mix of instruments as well.
I especially like "Golden, Golden" by Stewart, with beautiful lyrical lines like: "Slowly, slowly walk the way, and you may never stumble or fall, Slowly, slowly walk the way, and you may never fall in love at all."
In line with the title, all the songs are a bit sad and mournful, but beautiful. The title phrase, "Kiss the tears away," comes from song # 5, Sweet Dublin Bay, about lovers who sail off on a "gallant bark" which sinks in a terrible storm. The accordian has the right sort of melancholy sound to underline the tone of doom.
In #4 the singer mourns his deceased true love Mary on the Banks of the Lee, "For I loved her very dearly, both truly and sincerely. There is no one in this wide world I loved more than she."
In # 7, things work out better: On the Banks of the Bann. The lovers are almost separated by the girl's parents, who disapprove of the hero's lower status: "But I'll do my endeavors to gain my love's favors, although she is born of a high family." And, he continues, if he had had money, he would not have roamed, "but the drinking and sportin, night ramblin and courtin are the cause of all my ruin and absence from home." At the end he is reunited with his love, though, "and now by the banks of the lovely Bann waters, in peace and contentment, I'll live with my dear." I especially love the dignity and grace, reflective and stately accompaniments and singing which give these traditional verses a special delight and sentimental charm.
There are also several beautiful instrumentals by Phil Cunningham, an excellent accordianist who on various tracks plays instruments including keyboards, whistle, classical guitar, acoustic guitar and mandola. I like in particular #6 Mo Nighean Donn, Grádh Mo Chridhe" (My brown-haired maiden, love of my heart), with a sad, stately dignity. Also good is #3 Finlay M. MacRae.
I also like the Loch Tay Boat Song, which the Corries also do in a different arrangement. This is also about unhapy love, or at least an insecure lover. The protagonist doubts whether the girl he loves is going to stay with him. "Though I own she is not true, ah, but I cannot live without her, for my heart's a boat in tow, and I'd give the world to know, if she means to let me go ..." The accompaniment also very beautiful. It includes keyboard, strings and whistle.To sum up. This is a great album on the theme of love with a tendency to melancholy as suggested by the title. The songs are mainly traditional with traditional lyrical verses about very aspects of young love and its potential for a sad outcome, but also hope of happiness united with the lover. The perspective is romantic and from a male viewpoint. The accompaniments are tasteful and have a dignified quality, but are not too heavy. The songs are equisitely performed. Excellent in every respect, a good introduction to the group, which unfortunately broke up. Andy M. Stewart is simply great on his later solo albums, too, however. His Robert Burns renditions are tops!"
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I had known Silly Wizard would move me the way they do on this CD, I would have explored their music a long time ago. Kiss the Tears Away is incredibly beautiful and moving. There is only one thing wrong with this album: it's too short!"
Always a favorite
denise_ith | La Verkin, UT USA | 08/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've listened to the tape so often, I need to replace it with the CD. This recording has to be on my top 5 favorites list. The music takes you far, far away and you don't want to come back. Loch Tay Boat Song and Golden, Golden in particular, have a magic I can't really put into words.This is a must have for any collection."