Welcome to the Dragon Folk Club

Welcome to the official blog of the Dragon Folk Club, which meets for a singers night every Friday at The Bridge Inn, Shortwood, Bristol. Everyone is welcome whether you sing, play or just listen.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Harvest 2019


(Photo: Herry Lawford)
Last Friday was our annual Harvest theme. Thanks go to Colin for organising some nibbles, and to Jim, who was our first-timer for the evening. At the start he hid his light under a bushel before being persuaded to sing and finally get his banjo from the car. If Jim reads this, your presence was really welcomed and we hope you return very soon. It was also great to see Mike back after his spell in hospital.

Due to some business I had to do earlier in the week I have not got round to adding detail to this report until now (Thursday). I't's way too late to be writing a full report of last week's session so I will just touch on two things.

It is traditional to mention all songs sung by a newcomer. In this case our newcomer was Jim who sang: Good Old Mountain Dew (Roud 18669), Rosin The Bow (Roud 1192), Drink Up Thy Zider (Adge Cutler), Smuggler (Ian McCalman, based on an earlier poem), and Sweet Sunny South (Roud 772).

Finally, these are the songs which I didn't find on YouTube and which you won't hear at the "a selection" link below:


Please do come to the Dragon Folk Club any Friday from 8:15pm at The Bridge Inn, Shortwood, Bristol, BS16 9NG. As I always say, any sort of performance is welcome as long as it's acoustic, and audience members are welcome too. Entry is free, there's a well-priced bar just a few steps away, and we have great acoustics. See you there!

Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.

(Number of people present - 6, of whom 6 performed)

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The working man

It was great last week to see a totally new face at Friday's session. Sam was apparently at a loose end and found us on Facebook, which is what we like to hear. He didn't have anything prepared to sing but it sounds as though there's potential for the future if we haven't scared him off.

Colin as MC started the session off with The Agitator, believed to have been written in 1873 by Henry Taylor. The subject of the song is Joseph Arch, known as the agitator, who founded the National Agricultural Labourers’ Union in 1872. Taylor was a carpenter, who was admitted to the Union because of his previous trade union experience. The song was included in Roy Palmer’s A Ballad History of England.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Happy Birthday Colin

Our regular MC, Colin (Photo:Simon Meeds)
Well, MC Colin's birthday session last Friday was certainly something. He brought with him six non-performing family members who complemented the four singers. Not only was the audience good but it was one of those sessions where talk was kept to a minimum and therefore we got through 43 songs, which must be a recent, though no doubt not all-time record.

Colin started off with a Richard Digance song, Spider In The Sink. He returned to Digance later with I've Won The Lottery. Meanwhile Simon followed an awkward arachnid with an equally problematic mustelid, singing Derek Jolly's My Grandfather's Ferret.

Derek gave us two topical songs before permitting the visitors some light entertainment. The topics were The Donibristle Mine Disaster (Roud 3509) of 26 August 1901 and the Dublin Lock-out which started on 26 August 1913 - The Ballad Of James Larkin (Donagh McDonagh).

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Jackanory - I'll tell you a story

(Photo: Luca Barcellona)
We started last week's session with good news from Mike that he had had his operation and was "comfortable". We wish him a speedy recovery and an early return to the fold in good health and excellent voice.

We may have been a man down but the four of us who were left kept the singing going. Colin in particular, MC as usual, started the ball rolling with Eight Bells (Roud 13268). Still on the sea, Simon took us Sailing To Philadelphia with Mark Knopfler. From the sea we followed Geoff onto the rails with Roger Miller's King Of The Road.

Derek decided to pick up a theme from a couple of weeks before when he was not present, singing children's songs:

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Make way for Fred

Fred Jordan
That's more like it... we were definitely quorate last week with the return of Geoff from a chessing sojourn, and a visit from Tom. Unfortunately, Rose, the reason for Tom's visit, wasn't with us, concerned as she was about the promised extreme weather. It wasn't really that bad on Friday night in the end. Anyway, we hope to see her sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Colin, taking his usual seat as MC, started us off with The Son Of A Gambolier (Charles Ives). As predicted, Mike walked in with Indy the dog while he was singing.

Tom gave us Across The Great Divide from one of his favourite singer-songwriters, Kate Wolf. Kate died in 1986 at the age of 44, Tom says, towards the end of what had seemed a successful course of treatment for leukaemia.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Calm down children

Children of BALPA performing at Thornbury Carnival, 2019
(Photo: Simon Meeds)
We really were scraping the barrel last Friday, starting the evening with three singers, and dropping to two before the break. You will understand then why there were fewer songs sung than usual and we called it a night when the break would usually have been.

Colin started us off with a parody of Wild Rover (Roud 1173) - Song Of The F.U. (The Kipper Family). Here FU stands for Farmers' Union. As far as I can work out, the union was the NFU from its formation in 1908, so I guess the "N" just didn't scan or maybe there is a contrary message in there somewhere?

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Something fishy

Fishing smacks in Boston,
Lincolnshire - 1980s
(Photo: Simon Meeds)
We didn't get through quite so many songs last week but that was because there was more chat and that certainly wasn't a problem.

Colin, as MC, started off proceedings with Cam Ye Here Tae Dance (Bob Ferguson), which is unsurprisingly a parody of Cam Ye O'er Frae France (Roud 5814).

Simon followed that with Phil Ochs' There But For Fortune before Derek started a theme of fishing, inspired by a pre-session discussion of freshwater fishing. He began by singing Cod Banging (Roud 1747).

Mike continued the piscatorial theme with Mike Waterson's Three Day Millionaire. Only Derek continued the theme further with Jolly Herring (Roud 128)

An unusual contribution came from Colin in the form of The Court Of King Caractacus, made famous by Rolf Harris. Apparently Colin had obtained the words from The Mucat CafĂ© but it seemed to me that Rolf's "... the boys who put the powder on noses on the faces of the ladies..." scanned more easily than Mudcat's "...the boys who powdered the noses on the faces of the ladies...". Anyway, it turns out that the song is older and The King Of Karactacus was first recorded by a music hall duo called Rich and Rich.