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.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Twins and triplets

(Photo: The Berkshire Eagle)
The most important announcement from last week was that two weeks previously our harvest sessin raised £50 for the BBC Radio Bristol Alive Appeal. Thanks to those who came along to support us; that was not a bad haul for the small group that was present.

Back to last week, while Mike brought a theme and sang three songs to it, joined by some sort of clairvoyance, for he had not announced the theme, by Derek, it seems that the performances fall nicely into many sets of two or three, so that is how I will present them.

Colin, the MC, started with a Dougie MacLean song: Ready For The Storm. This was the first of three songs of the evening from that particular Scotsman; the others were Simon with Caledonia and Colin again with This Love Will Carry.

Dare I put Simon's Three Drunken Maidens (Roud 252) together with Derek's Four Marys (Roud 79, Child 173) simply for being numerically specific females?

Mike's theme of three related to cautionary tales told to men about women: I Wish I Was Single Again (Roud 437), Pretty Nancy Of Yarmouth (Roud 407) and a parody of Side By Side (original song by Harry M Woods).

As well as following Mike's theme, Derek managed to mirror a song he sang the previous week with The Dumb Wife (Roud 434, Laws Q5) which tells the tale of a man who has his dumb wife's tongue loosed and comes to regret it. This contrasts perhaps with the woman in Marrowbones who has her husband made blind with the plan he would commit suicide but instead he throws her in the river.

Colin sang two from the pen of Richard Thompson: Waltzing's For Dreamers and Down Where The Drunkards Roll.

A tenuous link in the name of a certain city in Texas exists between Simon's The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp (Dallas Frazier) and Colin's Family Of Man (Karl "Fred" Dallas). The second of which also forms a pair with Asikatali as songs made famous in the UK by The Spinners.

Three songs about miners come in the form of Derek's The Coal Owner And The Pitman's Wife (William Hornsby of Shotton Moor), Colin's Silver And Gold (Bryn Phillips) and also from Colin, The Ballad Of Spring Hill (Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl).

Derek gave us another pair in Fáinne Geal An Lae (Dawning Of The Day) and Dawning of The Day (Brian O'Higgins).

The final pair I'll pick is Colin's Waltzing Matilda by Banjo Paterson in the original published version rather than the better known version, and Simon's The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (Eric Bogle).

Finally, Simon closed the session with When All Men Sing (Keith Scowcroft, Derek Gifford).

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

(Number of people present - 4, of whom 4 performed)

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Mind your language

The Rosetta Stone (Photo: Tony Hall)
I'm afraid last week's session was marked by a very low turn-out - only four of us to keep the tradition going. Nevertheless we got through a good selection of songs: 37 in total; nowhere near a record but pretty creditable.

Colin, the MC, started off with a song often sung by our friend Gary H: Sea Dog by Bob Zentz, from a poem by Burt Franklin Jenness. Only later did Colin tell us that his personal theme was miserable songs, a theme which Derek, by his own admission, is able to follow anytime without any particular intention and to prove it before it had even been mentioned sang The Twa Brothers (Roud 38, Child 49).

Simon marked the Last Night of the Proms with Isabel Makes Love Upon National Monuments (Jake Thackray - "On the last night of the Promenades she waved to the conductor").

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Harvest 2018

(Photo: Herry Lawford)
It was a disappointment that we could only muster six people for our annual charity Harvest session; six is enough to make a lively musical evening but not to make a fortune in money raised for the BBC Radio Bristol Alive Appeal. It was however to good to see a brace of Terries (C and H).

MC Colin sang the first song, All Of A Row (Roud 1474). Derek asked whether this was in fact the Suffolk Harvest Home but it seems not, because that is apparently a version of Roud 310 ("Here's a health unto our master... drink, boys, drink").

Thursday, 30 August 2018


Jim Larkin (Photo: William Murphy)
From the sublime to the ridiculous. No that's not fair but from a throng of eleven people the previous week to a huddle of four last week was a little disappointing. Yes, two people had offered their apologies.

At this stage I must remember to mention that this week's session on Friday 31 August will be our annual Harvest. Songs, tunes and stories following some sort of harvest theme are encouraged as is bringing produce from garden, allotment or supermarket and plenty of money to spend in aid of our chosen charity which this year is BBC Radio Bristol's Alive Appeal which aims to raise £50,000 to fund 300 activity sessions in care homes and day centres across Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset. The 'Alive' charity uses music, dance, storytelling, objects from the past and touchscreens to spark memories and conversations bringing joy, laughter and fun to people who may be living with dementia or who have become demotivated, depressed or inactive.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

A bigger session

(Photo: Karl-Axel Lagerholm)
Well, last Friday was a surprise and not just because of the arrival since the week before of a pool table and it's associated accoutrements in "our" room. No, despite the absence of our regular MC, Colin, we had a surprisingly large throng, a wealth of performers, and it was mainly thanks to Rose, her decision to come from her distant home to see us, and her power to draw in the crowds. Thanks Rose! We managed to work around the elephant, or rather table, in the room and cued up an impressive array of songs.

Simon took the baton as MC for the evening and reminded us that in two weeks (now a little over one week as I write), on the 31 August, we will have our annual harvest session. Everyone is encouraged to attend, bringing if they so choose performances related more or less to the harvest, also produce from their gardens, allotments or supermarkets, and cash to spend and donate to the chosen charity, which isn't yet finalised - watch this space. It's always a fun evening and even more so if we can gather a good crowd.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

More Of Your Nonsense

Old man of Port Grigor
(image: Edward Lear, adapted by Goetz Kluge)
With Derek back in the fold last week I have an apology to make. The week before, he wasn't apparently watching Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire at cricket, though he would have rather been doing so than what he was doing - hearing a mechanic make the traditional mechanic's sound of air inhaled through teeth while considering the repairs necessary to Derek's car which was in serious ill health.

Anyway, straight on to the music, Colin as MC kicked off with what he described as a bit of nonsense... The Tailor And The Mouse (Roud 16577).

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Where is our recruiting sergeant?

The Female Drummer (Photo: Simon Meeds)
In the absence of Derek last week, perhaps watching his beloved Glamorgan narrowly beat Gloucestershire at the cricket, we were very pleased to see Tom again so soon after his last visit, bringing us up to a just quorate five singers for the evening.

Colin, MCing as usual, started things off with Matt McGinn's Manura Manya, followed swiftly by Geoff, with the song which inspired it, The Kerry Recruit (Roud 520, Laws J8).

The latter led Mike to propose a recruiting theme, for which he provided The Female Drummer (Roud 226). Geoff retorted with The Good Ship Calabar and Mike came back with The Bold Fusilier (Pete Coe, based on a traditional song).

Simon continued his Canadian theme of two weeks previously with The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald (Gordon Lightfoot), Peggy Gordon (Roud 2280), Lady Franklin's Lament (Roud 487, Laws K9) and Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell).