Silly Wizard

Silly Wizard was a Scottish folk band formed in 1970 in Edinburgh. The founding members were Gordon Jones, Johnny Cunningham and Bob Thomas.Thomas credited the name “Silly Wizard” to a roommate who was writing a book of children’s stories, and the group first performed under that name in the summer of 1972.


With the additions of Andy M. Stewart as lead vocalist (and composer of classic songs like Queen of Argyll and Ramblin’ Rover), Johnny’s brother Phil Cunningham on accordion and Alastair Donaldson on bass, the group recorded their first album – Silly Wizard.

Silly Wizard played a variety of Scottish folk music – jigs, reels, and airs along with original tunes and songs. “Contemporary music that is firmly based in tradition,” was how one reviewer put it.

Stewart told Dirty Linen Magazine in 1991, “I think that it’s the general love of traditional music, interest in songs, and interest in things, not just Scottish music; certainly a big interest in Irish music and songs, which accounts for my interest, I think, across the board…”

Dougie MacLean, who had once been in a band with Andy Stewart, was a member of Silly Wizard for about six months, contributing to their fourth album, Wild & Beautiful.

They continued touring and recording until the late 1980s, weathering numerous personnel changes, when the band decided to dissolve after performing for seventeen years and releasing nine albums.

In December 2012, Silly Wizard was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame, and a remastered album of a 1983 concert in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Live Again, has just been released.