A band with fire and soul!
Brianna Neal | USA | 01/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure this album represents all the "best" of Silly Wizard but it's an earthy, rollicking-good-romp all the same. Standout tracks include the rousing renditions of "Queen of Argyll" and "Donald McGillavry", the poignant "Valley of Strathmore" and "Finlay M. MacRae", and of course the virtuosic dances on tracks 3, 9 and 11. No booming bass here--the sound of this primarily accoustic band tends toward the treble side, featuring the finger-flying accordion playing of Phil Cunningham and the folksy tenor voice of Andy M. Stewart. But the well-crafted harmonic structures supporting their melodies are always engaging, holding a listener's attention and moving each piece along to a more than satisfying conclusion. Interestingly, like another of the group's Shanachie releases that I have ("Wild and Beautiful"), "Best of ..." begins with a wistful love song rather than an energetic dance set--a fitting opening considering the honest, heartfelt sentiment that Silly Wizard brings to their music. (I suppose the approach also hearkens back to the "days of yore", before albums were marketed via computer systems designed to grab maximum attention with only the first few listen-able tracks ...) On this recording, core group members Phil Cunningham, Andy M. Stewart, Martin Hadden and Gordon Jones are joined by guitarist Bob Thomas and fiddler Johnny Cunningham. For another "Best of"-style recording of this band's favorite works, try their 1988 Green Linnett recording, "Live Wizardry"."
Great Takes on Traditional Scottish Music
E. H. Owens | Roanoke VA | 02/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought The Best of Silly Wizard to get a copy of "The Valley of Strathmore," Andy Stewart's ballad done in the traditional style of Scottish music. The rest of the CD is just as fine. Makes one just pine for a wee bit of the Highlands!"
Silly Wizard ... Scottish-style Celtic folk music
Mark Fitzgerald | Canada | 10/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These guys are amazing. This marvelous compilation captures Silly Wizard at their rambunctious peak. Right away you'll notice vocalist Andy M. Stewart is at his very best, as are they all. The songs on this CD are wonderful. The Fisherman's Song is a haunting song about men being lost at sea and the wives & children they leave behind. Here is a bit of the lyrics.
"By the storm-torn shoreline a woman is standing
The spray strung like jewels in her hair
And the sea tore the rocks near the desolate landing
as though it had known she stood there.
For she had come down to condemn that wild ocean
for the murderous loss of her man,
His boat sailed out on Wednesday morning
And it's feared it's gone down with all hands."
This CD is great. Grab one you'll be glad you did!