(1971) The Druids – Burnt Offering
Availability: long deleted, never issued on CD
Keith Kendrick: vocal, guitar, banjo
John Adams: vocal, mandolin, bass
Mick Hennessy: vocal, bass
Dave Broughton: fiddle accordion
Judi Longden: vocals
John Tams: whistle chorus
Sleeve notes by: The Druids, Roger Watson and John Tams
As the sleeve notes say: “Engraved for the The Complete English Traveller, The Wicker Colossus of the Druids wherein Malefactors, Prisoners of War and sometimes innocent persons (where there was a deficiency of the former) were Burnt as sacrifices to their Deities.”
1 Thursday Night/Brian Borouhme/Frost is All Over (trad)
2 The Trooper and His Horse (trad)
3 A Sailor’s Life (trad) (unaccompanied, group)
4 General Taylor (trad) (unaccompanied, group)
5 Salvation Band (Roger Watson)
6 Hunting The Hare/Exile’s Jig (trad) (DB fiddle)
7 The Castle of Dramore (trad)
8 Our Captain Cried All Hands (trad) (unaccompanied, group)
9 Fare Thee Well, Enniskillen (trad)
1 The Cuckoo’s Nest (trad)
2 The Boar’s Head Carol (unaccompanied, group)
3 The Christmas Hare (Roger Watson) (JT whistle)
4 A Brisk Young Widow (trad)
5 The Prickly Bush (trad)
6 Madame Bonaparte/Roxburgh Castle (trad) (KK guitar, JA mandolin)
7 The Farmer’s Three Sons (group, unaccompanied)
8 Gabriel John (words trad/tune Roger Watson) (group, unaccompanied)
9 The Butcher and The Parson (trad)
It’s 1965 and Keith Kendrick has just learnt his first Donovan song on the guitar. Then one night at the Elton Road Working Men’s Club in Derby…
“…a young 15-year-old got up and sang ‘A Pub With No Beer’, and my dad thought HE’S GOOD, and then the man alongside him said ‘That’s my lad!’ The youth was the young Mick Hennessey, and our two fathers got us together. That’s when the journey started,” Kendrick recalled in an interview with Dai Woosnam for folkworld.eu.
A quick aside
Kendrick’s path to folk music was, as he admits, typical of loads of people of his age: listening to The Everly Brothers, Pete Seeger, The Weavers, Peter Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and The Carter Family on Radio Luxemburg late at night.
“At that time I didn’t really know it was folk music – but it was all American and at that time I had no knowledge of our own cultural music. Then came the Beatles of course and the Hollies etc. – highlighting my obvious attraction to vocal harmony. All these people among others, were my musical awakening,” he said.
That all changed in 1965 when he was introduced to folk clubs by old school friend John Squires.
“Then the flood gates opened! The Spinners, Cyril Tawney, The Ian Campbell Folk Group, The Watersons, Ewan MacColl, The Critics Group, Martin Carthy, The Young Tradition, John Kirkpatrick, and of course through them and my local club colleagues – the traditional performers like Harry Cox, Sam Larner, The Copper Family, Scan Tester, William Kimber, Pop Maynard and of course the King – Joseph Taylor.”
Fast forward a few years and Kendrick, Bob Fairbrother and ex-pop group member John Adams are regulars at the Peasmouldia folk club in Derby. They form a group called the Springhill Singers (The Springhill Mine Disaster was their signature tune).
That group somehow morphs into The Druids. At some stage Mick Hennessy joins, Fairbrother drops out and John Squires (who’d later team up to sing with John Leonard, who’d later be Mark Radcliffe’s producer on Radio 1 and who’d later set up Smooth Operations, which would later produce radio programmes for BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC 6 Music, BBC 1Xtra and independent company Smooth Radio) drops in long enough to give them their name.
“We all shared this passion for traditional music,” Kendrick recalled later, “as much as we understood it back then – and when we were thinking of a possible name for our group, John Squires said ‘well it needs to be something OLD, doesn’t it?’…always the astute thinker was our John, he still is.”
Recruited by MacColl and Seeger
In November 1969 the Derby trio of Adams, Kendrick and Hennessy had their first gig as The Druids at the Manchester Sports Guild. By Christmas that year itinerant fiddler Dave Broughton had wandered over (that’s what itinerant fiddlers do) from his home in Sheffield to join them.
In Spring 1970 the group were invited to perform in Sheffield Playhouse resident writer Allan Cullen’s musical documentary Ring O’ Roses. According to the sleeve notes of this album, “there they met a member of the cast who so impressed them that advances were made – and Judi (Longden) became the fifth Druid.”
The Druids started their own folk club, the Druids, at the Chestnut pub in Normanton, south Derby. And it was there that they were recruited to Argo by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.
All fell apart
Two years, three albums and lots of semi-pro touring, concerts, radio concerts and folk dances later, The Druids split up.
“I was disappointed that the Druids never stayed together,” Kendrick recalled. “We almost got to very heady heights. And just as we were about to reap the benefits of that, it all fell apart.”
And more on those three albums – the collaboration with Martyn Wyndham Read and the Band of the Scots Guards on ‘Songs of the Redcoats’ (1971), their own ‘Pastime with Good Company’ (1972) and the collaboration with Trevor Crozier on ‘Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band’ (1972) – in later posts.
Many thanks to Dai Woosnam for permission to use bits of his interview with Keith Kendrick.
“In those days, multi-track tape recorders were very new and we recorded on a 16-track Scully machine – one of the first in the country. It was all very new and wonderful – while we recorded our folk music in Studio 3, Jacques Loussier was recording his particular brand of jazz in Studio 2 and Marmalade were ligging around Studio 1 (never once saw a red light on to indicate recording in progress!).”