Harbourtown History

The Start of the Slippery Slope

Way back in 1972 Bob Thomas and Gordon Jones were friends who often played guitar at the same venues in and around Edinburgh. A shared interest in blues and traditional music developed into the band which became Silly Wizard. Along the way we were joined by a fiddle playing schoolboy called Johnny Cunningham and the rest is (a somewhat entertaining) history. If you really want to know how that developed then look at the Silly Wizard history pages on this site!

Another Great Idea???

Bob left the band in 1979 after 7 years and lots of music for a real job in a music shop - this led him into the pro-audio and computer industries where he once bossed around over 150 people across the UK and Europe and was responsible for a £100m turnover business. Gordon and Bob kept in touch - Bob's expense accounts bought many a meal over the years - and, as Silly Wizard began to wind down its activities after 17 years on the road, Gordon moved from Edinburgh to the same part of England as Bob. After a few beers the pair decided not to start another band but to carry on the old partnership by starting Harbourtown Records in 1987.

Harbourtown set out to work with artists growing out of Britain's folk music circuit and to help guide them past the many pitfalls that its founders had encountered in the past. This they did - whilst discovering and painfully navigating all the pitfalls of developing a record company!

What's going on now?

Well, a good few years ago Gordon moved from Manchester - which was big on amenities but very short on scenery - to Ulverston in Cumbria. Ulverston is a great place to live, being situated on the edge of Morecambe Bay with the Lakeland fells fringing the town to the North. On the other hand it's not exactly handy for "interfacing with the music business" - so thank goodness for the internet, e-mail, and the phone.

At around the same time Bob headed south. first to the small village of Newport Pagnell - famous for being the home of Aston Martin cars - then on to Bovingdon - famous for not a lot - before ending up in Leighton Buzzard, a small market town some 35 miles nothwest of London and the heart of the music business. All of these are a long way from Ulverston - unless you drive really fast or use e-mail, phone, etc!

The company has grown over the years, developed a reputation for fairly uncompromising quality music from a strong roster of artists, collected a couple of music business awards and many plaudits, has over fifty titles in its catalogue, a strong mail order department and a rapidly growing technical facility which offers CD duplication and CD production for customers from all over the UK.

© Harbourtown Records 1987-2023