The Druids of Stonehenge | Resurrection

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Blues: Blues-Rock Blues: Rockin' Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by The Druids of Stonehenge

Fifty years after their first and only album CREATION was released in 1968, this seminal NYC grunge blues-rock band reunites to produce RESURRECTION, an album of dark powerful and unique blues songs.
Genre: Blues: Blues-Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Strong Man Holler
3:20 $1.99
2. Shotgun Blues
3:59 $1.99
3. Just to Be with You
4:57 $1.99
4. Nobody's Fault but Mine
3:04 $1.99
5. She's Got My Nose Open
3:54 $1.99
6. Superstitious Blues
2:44 $1.99
7. What a Woman (Commit a Crime)
4:52 $1.99
8. Jumper on the Line
4:35 $1.99
9. Born to Die
2:54 $1.99
10. Hellhound
3:12 $1.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
All of the songs that we have resurrected (and that have resurrected us) are “blues chestnuts” that The Druids have played and loved over the last 50 years - since we were teenagers. An important disclaimer is that The Druids are not and never were a traditional blues band. We were a rock ‘n roll band, growing up as friends in NYC in the late 60’s, heavily influenced by the blues, rhythm and blues and soul music that permeated that period. As we grew up musically we became more interested in finding out where that music came from. And we did, moving back through Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf to earlier roots artists. Musically though we stayed a rock ‘n roll band who had learned their rhythms from Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.
The songs here are arranged to make them fit our straight-ahead rhythmic style and to highlight David’s unique approach to lyrics. So if we have “taken liberties” with the songs we hope that fans of more traditional Blues won’t be offended. Many of the songs here had already been played in multiple different forms by the time we first heard them growing up. And even if not, they usually had their roots deep in older traditional materials with ‘the deck shuffled’ to sound like new songs. So we believe that it’s important to credit original authors (to the extent they are known) as well as the important interpreters of older material who influenced us. We like to think of ourselves as temporary custodians of a great tradition that embraces changing and interpreting songs as they are played. And we hope that this tradition will pass through us to others. Because as much as we have played these songs, they have played us. And as we have loved them, they loved us back and kept our musical spirit alive.

Carl Hauser, August 2017

1. Strong Man Holler
Written by Henry Fredericks [Taj Mahal]. (Arr. the Druids) Vocals - David Budge. Lead guitar - Billy Cross. Acoustic guitars, bass - CJ Hauser. Piano, organ - Magic Kramer. Drums - Roger Kahn.

David heard Strong Man Holler while promoting Big Bill Morgenstern’s 2001 “Ramblin’ Mind” album for Blind Pig records. There, this song sounds like a jam between Taj, Big Bill and harpist Billy Branch. Big Bill is Muddy Waters’ son, so we expected the cut to be bluesy and it was. But using much of the same basic track, Taj did it even better on his 2008 ‘Maestro’ album. David (who also did promo for Taj) played it for Carl and he loved it. In 2012 just for fun we jammed it over at Magic Kramer’s studio. It was just so much fun to play and came together so well that it became an inspiration for us to start playing together as a band again.

2. Shotgun Blues
Written by Sam Hopkins. (Arr. the Druids) Vocals - David Budge. Lead guitars - Billy Cross (slide) and Milt Reder.  Acoustic guitars, bass - CJ Hauser. Keyboards - Magic Kramer. Drums - Roger Kahn
Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins recorded Shotgun Blues for Aladdin Records in 1948. He did a version titled Bring Me My Shotgun in 1992, perhaps to avoid confusion with Sonny Boy Williamson’s 1938 “Shotgun Blues”. Lightnin’ did many songs with violent themes but the entire history of the blues is full of death and violence. Poor folk died in the Saint James Infirmary and the gamblers in Stack-A-Lee died in the street. But most often, people died at the hands of jealous lovers. It didn’t matter if you were a woman or a man. Victoria Spivey sang Murder in the First Degree and Honey-Boy Edwards sang Bloodstains On the Wall. Revenge on cheating lovers just had a special place in the blues. But Hopkins has a sense of humor as his wife mocks him. And in the end he can’t shoot her because “my old shotgun just won’t fire!” We think thought was Lightning’s wry acceptance of advancing age and declining virility. Originally a slow blues, we thought this gritty song should rock!

3. Just to be With You
Written by Morris Holt [Magic Slim] (Arr. The Druids). Vocals - David Budge. Lead guitar - Billy Cross. Rhythm guitar, bass - CJ Hauser. Drums - Roger Kahn

Some people will have heard this song done by Muddy Waters and associate it with him. But it was written by Morris “Magic Slim” Holt (1937-2013). As far as we can tell, Slim first recorded it on his 1982 Grand Slam album. I was lucky enough to get to see Slim while I was working in Mississippi, but few folks from outside that state have ever heard of him. Yet Slim won the W.C. Handy award 6 times. He was a true original who is much too little known.

4. Nobody's Fault but Mine
Traditional. (Arr The Druids) Lead vocal - David Budge. Lead guitar - Billy Cross. Keyboards - Esben Just. Rhythm guitars - CJ Hauser. Bass - Michael Engman Rønnow. Drums - Roger Kahn. Background vocals - Maria 'MJ' Hauser, Billy Cross

Associated with Blind Willie Johnson, Nobody's fault likely was already a traditional gospel song already at the turn of the 20th Century. Johnson made the first known recorded version in 1927. That version was a spiritual warning listeners to read their Bibles or their souls would be lost. Between 1927 and 1965 it was covered by Sister Rosetta Tharpe , Nina Simone and others. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant adapted it for Led Zeppelin’s 1976 Presence album. We changed the words almost entirely to create a secular song where the singer needs to write to his girl or she’ll leave him. We started playing it in a “Chuck Berry meets Leon Russell” approach with Maria “MJ” Hauser supplying the Memphis-style background vocals. Later, some New Orleans overtones of Dr. John, Professor Longhair and Huey Piano Smith snuck in courtesy of Billy Cross and his keyboardist friend Esben Just during the final phases of the recording. Everybody likes a good gumbo!

5. She's Got my Nose Open
Written by Hanley Johnson (Arr. The Druids). Lead vocal - David Budge. Lead guitars - Billy Cross, Magic Kramer. Rhythm guitar, bass - CJ Hauser. Background vocals - Magic Kramer, Billy Cross, CJ Hauser. Drums - Roger Kahn

Great song titles come from real life and get recycled every generation. The Detroit juke-blues song You Got My Nose Wide Open was recorded by “Tie-Tongue” Hanley Johnson in 1957. The great blues harpist James Cotton recorded his version in the 1990’s. We found ourselves attracted to Cotton’s slower, ‘low down’ approach to the song. The tension in the song seemed less comic at that speed and was well adapted to David’s voice and humor. Although the ideas and the hook line were great, the rest of the lyrics were pretty spotty. The answer was to contribute a few more choice lyric ideas suggested by songs from other Druids’ favorites. “Screaming Jay” Hawkins (whose I Put A Spell On You was The Druids’ signature song in the 1960s) suggested “that woman put a spell on me” and James Brown (whose I’ll go crazy was often the opening song of our opening set) suggested “I can’t stand myself.” It’s a privilege to serve as a steward for material like this.

6. Superstitious Blues
Written by Willie Dixon (Arr. The Druids). Lead vocal - David Budge. Lead guitar - Billy Cross. Rhythm guitar - Magic Kramer. Piano - Magic Kramer. Bass - CJ Hauser. Drums - Roger Kahn. Percussion - Debra Dobkin

Most people attribute this song to Willie Dixon, but the origins lie much deeper in American folk culture. The song is based first and foremost to Lonnie Johnson’s 1926 Suspicious Blues, but DIxon also owes source material to Bessie Jackson and Hattie Burleson. In 1938 Washboard Sam did a Suspicious Blues too. That was in turn stolen by Jazz Gillum in 1947 as The Blues What Am. Dixon finally tied all the threads together and morphed them into “I Ain’t Superstitious” for Howlin' Wolf in 1961. We were huge Wolf fans but never considered doing his version in the 60’s because it was a foxtrot! Of course, once Jeff Beck (our favorite Yardbird…) did it on his solo album, it became sort of a Rock ‘n Roll ‘guitar-god’ standard that was done and redone using Beck’s rhythmically exaggerated version of the Dixon arrangement. Even Carlos Santana did it that way! We wanted to find some way to do it differently. So sitting in Magic’s studio doing “guide tracks” we tried about a half dozen ways, none of which really took off. Then Magic suggested doing it as a Blues Rumba. We stopped, listened to what he had in mind for a second, and we never looked back.

7. What a Woman (Commit a Crime)
Written by Chester Burnett (Arr. the Druids). Lead vocal - David Budge. Lead guitar -  Billy Cross. Rhythm guitar, bass - CJ Hauser. Keyboards - Magic Kramer. Drums - Roger Kahn

Chester “Howling Wolf” Burnett was a primary influence on The Druids. There was an air of darkness, of barely controlled violence, and, well, of …evil about Wolf’s music that attracted us. We played several Wolf songs in our repertoire that we attributed either to him or Willie Dixon. This was because we heard them on our treasured and well-worn copies of Chess Records’ The Real Folk Blues and the Chess Masters series, where every song was credited to a Chess-published writer. We didn’t know then how much of this work was based on earlier roots artists. Perhaps best known is “Little Red Rooster”, which is almost universally attributed to Willie Dixon. But it is an exact copy of Memphis Minnie’s 1936 If You See My Rooster. But the authorship of Commit a Crime is most confusing of all. On the 1971 London Howlin' Wolf Sessions it is listed as "What a Woman!" and credited to “St. Louis Jimmy Oden” (a bluesman who had a few songs covered by Wolf). Later the track was listed as "’Commit a Crime’ - an alternative take of ‘What a Woman’," by Oden. Later, it was attributed to Chester Burnett. But “What a Woman” by James Oden and Alex Atkins was indeed copyrighted in 1966. The URL for that copyright is on the Druids’ webpage.

8. Jumper On the Line
Written by R.L. Burnside. (Arr. The Druids). Lead vocal - David Budge. Lead guitar - Billy Cross. Rhythm guitar, Bass - CJ Hauser. Drums - Roger Kahn. Percussion - Debra Dobkin.

R.L. Burnside recorded Jumper on the Line in 1968. Burnside was a juke-blues player who learned to play from his neighbor, Mississippi Fred McDowell. This song’s lyrics are few and far between, leaving the meaning obscure and generating speculation as to what RL meant. But in February 1993, Rafael Alvarez interviewed Burnside for an article in the Baltimore Sun, and asked him directly. R.L.’s reply was “In blues lore, if a married woman hangs her housecoat or ‘jumper’ out on the clothes line it's a sign to her lover that the coast is clear.” We thought this song would translate to rock ’n roll using a two-step tempo matched to a minor key. That might suggest a deceptively light-hearted walk down a country road where there could be a lover’s arms at the end or a shotgun barrel… Also, since the lyrics were so few, we added to them using the story from that Baltimore Sun interview. We hope you don’t mind!

9. Born to Die
Trad. (Arr. The Druids). Lead vocal - David Budge. Lead guitar - Billy Cross. Rhythm guitars, Bass - CJ Hauser. Drums - Roger Kahn

Born to Die was first recorded by Blind Willie McTell in 1933. McTell is likely best known for Statesboro Blues, which was brought into the mainstream of Rock ‘n Roll by the Allman Brothers. In later years, the Druids often played Fred McDowell’s You Got to Move at our reunions. We heard the Stones do it on Sticky Fingers and loved the New Orleans revival feel. Born to die was a similar type of revival blues song that we thought could start out similarly, and then develop. It does appear to be McTell’s original song although the gospel Born to Die theme itself clearly predates McTell’s career. Still, the gospel overtones completely belie a totally secular song which threatens a cheating woman with death even though the woman is actually cheating by being with the man she really “belongs” to, who would be known as her “monkey man” in the blues tradition.

10. Hellhound
Robert Johnson; (Arr. The Druids). Lead vocal - David Budge. Lead guitar - Billy Cross. Rhythm guitars, Bass - CJ Hauser. Drums - Roger Kahn. Percussion - Debra Dobkin.

Robert Johnson is considered the greatest of the Delta bluesmen and the origin of the legend of the bluesman who sells his soul to the Devil at the crossroads to become great. At the end of his time, the Devil was to take his soul. “Hellhound on my Trail” can be seen as Johnson’s story of the hellhounds coming to get him in payment for his brief time of musical (and sexual…) stardom. Considering the importance of Hellhound to Johnson’s legend and the incredibly haunting quality of the original song, we always wondered why, of all the seminal 1936 recordings captured by Don Law and Ernie Oertle, Hellhound was the one major piece never successfully adapted to Rock ‘n Roll (like Cream’s Crossroads and the Stones’ Love in Vain). Our guess was Johnson used ‘blues wailing’ to draw out his lyric lines in a way that no one else could. And again, the lyrics were sparse and almost surreal in their simplicity, leaving little “story.” We have tried to adapt the lyrics to an up-tempo rock feel and use percussion to give the song a “swamp-rock” feel to go along with the Hellhound story. We also used elements of the story about the deal with the Devil to flesh the song story out so David could tell it better. In the original Johnson seeks the solace of his ‘rider’ while evading the hellhounds. But evidence shows in real life that Johnson was actually poisoned with strychnine courtesy of a jealous lover. We simply suggest that Satan could disguise a hellhound as Johnson’s rider.



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