DRUIDS -Burnt Offering( 1969 acoustic folk) CDATOM
The Druids were a superb acoustic folk quintet formed in 1969, who started a little too late to achieve the major popularity of outfits like Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, although they were very well respected across the UK. The cover design, containing The Wicker Colossus of the Druids (depicting a scene like something out of the denouement to The Wicker Man), showed that the group meant business, and they had the musical smarts to back it up. There's not a dull or predictable moment here, whether they're singing of lust (ÔThe Cuckoo's NestÕ), plague victims (ÔGabriel JohnÕ), or romantic woes (ÔThe Butcher and the Parson'), as well as a straight acoustic rendition of one version of ÔA Sailor's Life,Õ a song that became something of a concert standard for Fairport Convention as an extended electric piece. Itinerant fiddler Dave Broughton joined them, and in 1970, while appearing in a documentary film about English folk musicians, they met fifth member Judi Longden, who added her voice to the proceedings. With their reliance on acoustic instruments, the Druids were far more tradition-based than either Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span. Their repertory consisted of traditional English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish songs arranged for four voices, and their music had a pleasingly archaic feel, not resembling folk-rock at all. If anything, they sounded more like the kind of outfit that A.L. Lloyd or Ralph Vaughan Williams (editors of the definitive collection of English folk songs) would have approved of, without a trace of uncalled for elegance or pretentiousness. Burnt Offerings is the first time on CD and deserves to be out there sharing a piece of Folk history that allows the world to see how it is done.