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.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Nearly New Year and much mirth

Kipper Family
I arrived this week to find everyone sitting in the side bar supping their drinks. Apparently the electricity was off to the wing of the pub where our room is situated. In times gone by this would not have been a problem since we always held our sessions by candlelight, with the sole addition of the light on the dartboard. However, since refurbishment the use of candles had been prohibited, so we are usually in the still subdued glow of the electric wall lights. Apparently Maggie S usually brings her candles just in case but on this occasion she had not. The landlord came to the rescue with candles carefully waxed into "energy drink" glasses and we were quickly underway.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas II

William Batchelder Bradbury

Thanks go to Derek for the report on this week's session. As usual, I have linked to some songs on YouTube. Since I wasn't there this time, some of the songs may not be quite what was sung. There may even be the odd intentionally wrong one in there in the spirit of the season :-)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Bridge

Our second week of partying-down began, as the first, with Maggie L producing a sumptuous, not to say scrumptious and beautifully presented, repast, ably supervised by chief crumb-hoover Gertie.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The first session of Christmas

John Conolly
This was the first of two Christmas sessions. The maybe spurious reason was that some people couldn't make 13 December and others couldn't make 20th. So, if you're reading this before 11pm on 20th there's still time to join us for some Christmas cheer (or bah humbug depending on your inclination), make it a bit earlier and you can even join in with the grub, just bring an edible contribution, please.

We would like to thank Maggie 2 (who I now know as Maggie L!) for decorating the room. I guess she probably provided some of the food as well but she had been and gone before I arrived so I don't know for sure. Thank you, Maggie L! Henceforth, if I remember, our two Maggies will be Maggie S and Maggie L.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas comes early, and a little later

Much to the consternation of some "bah humbug" folkies, Maggie has announced that there will be not one, but two Christmas sessions this year. These will be on 13 and 20 December. So, bring out your Christmas (or even anti-Christmas) songs and some appropriate nibbles to be added to the spread.

Happy Christmas

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Mandela, floods and Scottish remnants

Hamish Henderson
The big world event this week was the death of Nelson Mandela. At the beginning of the evening only Derek had a relevant song; one he had written himself, called Mandela. This was a song which he considered to be poorly written and he had therefore sung it only three times before. This, he declared, would be its last outing. We didn't think it anywhere near so bad. Later on Terry turned up and sung another song related to South Africa. Unfortunately I've been unable to identify it.

Simon spoke of the tidal surge that has affected Lincolnshire. The flooding got to within a mile of his parents' house and flooded the homes of several people he knows. It was noted that Three score and ten would be appropriate but it had been sung the previous week. Simon had considered reading High tide on the coast of Lincolnshire by Jean Ingelow until he realised how long it is!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Saint Andrew, Scotland and the sea

The Beauchamp - the lifeboat
involved in the Caister disaster of 1901
Last Friday people were very thin on the ground at the session. I suggested that we might get more people in if we removed the poster from the door; not because people are discouraged by the folk club poster, but because removing it would reveal the sign showing the way to the alternative toilets.

I can't quite remember the reason, but it may have been this comment that started Maggie singing Seven old ladies locked in the lavatory. Well, I say she started singing... No, I don't mean there was anything wrong with Maggie's singing, it's just that although it is officially her folk club, Maggie almost never sings, and she tried to stop the fact that she had sung being recorded. Well, it went into the official book, and it's recorded here on the blog as well!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A bit of Newfy

Whitby lifeboatman Henry Freeman
photographed by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe,
seen wearing his "waistcoat" or life-jacket.
Photo copyright The Sutcliffe Gallery
Mike was back on form last week although unusually using printed words for a couple of songs. The evening started off with Canine regular, Gertie, taking leave of her pet human, Maggie (2), and nesting in Mike's book where he records the proceedings of the club. That was amusing enough but when Mike started to sing, the book descended between his knees, closing to engulf the poor hound, leaving everyone rolling around laughing.

In this fashion, Mike started us off with Adam McNaughtan's The yellow on the broom.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Pot pourri

The title page of an edition of The Sacred Harp
Mike wasn't feeling too well at last week's session, so Richard was put in charge, and he ably MCed the evening.

Chico made an appearance at the club for the first time in 10 or 15 years according to his memory. We were certainly entertained by his songs: Roll along, Seaman's shuffle (a ragtime tune) and 21st century troubadour (download sample). Let's hope we see him at The Bridge before the next decade starts.

Terry isn't anywhere near as rare a visitor to the club as Chico, but this time he was missing his usual companion: his classical guitar. It was therefore from a slightly different repertoire that we hear him sing on this occasion. Terry sang The Dutchman by Michael P Smith, John Willie's ferret by the Oldham Tinkers, and Lamorna. The last song, appearing to be about a place in Cornwall, seems to be derived from a 19th century broadside providing words to a song called Down to Pomona, which is set in Manchester.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A fine send off for Ray Croll

Yesterday was the day of Ray Croll's funeral. I wasn't at the funeral itself but I understand that Richard officiated in fine style and that the singing was as strong as you would expect. I did however go to the evening event, which in accordance with Ray's wishes was a celebration of both his life and that of his late wife, Vera.

There must have been at least 100 people present (I didn't count so it could have been many more). There were two performance sessions starting soon after 7pm and going on until 11:15 with only a short break for a buffet. There were many fine performances, with performers representing many of the folk clubs that Ray attended. Even with all of those performers, it barely scratched the surface of the talent present.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


Ebenezer Theodore Joshua
This week there was no Mike or Maggie so Richard was in charge and, being the closest session to Remembrance Sunday, remembrance and war was the theme.

Most of the small number of us assembled joined in the theme.In fact Gary started the theme off last week with his song, White poppy.

Colin started us off with Ghost Story. I don't usually add too much in the report that wasn't said on the night, but my hunt for this on the web was an interesting one. Unfortunately I didn't find a recording, but I did find this mention of the song. The first place I saw it was on the website of The Church Times:

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Things that go bump by the campfire (with added rugby)

Brian Bedford with Jacey Bedford
and Hilary Spencer, the members
of the disbanded harmony group,
Being between Halloween and November 5th, this week's theme was supposed to be "Things that go bump by the campfire". Talk of campfire songs seemed though to bring us round to rugby songs, some of which, usually in cleaner versions, were sung. If an excuse was needed, it was found in that the Rugby League World Cup was taking place in various venues around the country.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Last Ray of Sunshine

[Thank you to Derek for stepping in to write a report on this week's session in my absence.]

With a number of absences known in advance (including your usual scribe) it was a small but select band that assembled to remember Ray Croll at the first Dragon session since his death. It included Lesley making an unexpected appearance due to being relieved of drunk-shepherding duties in Newport, Robin who, still recovering from his shoulder operation, managed the first half, and a welcome return by Alan who has been absent for a while.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Marking the unveiling of the Welsh National Coal Mining Memorial

Jean Ritchie
Mike and Maggie were back from their holiday and after Richard's stint in charge he had forgotten to bring most of the club kit back, so we did without beer mats and Maggie improvised a poster and raffle tickets. The Dunkirk spirit evoked, we managed to make a good evening of it.

After receiving a donation from Betty, Maggie announced that the donations from harvest for BUST had reached an excellent £45.

On the 14 October 2013 a Welsh National Coal Mining Memorial was unveiled on the site of the Universal Colliery in Senghenydd, South Wales. This date marked the 100th anniversary of the United Kingdom's worst ever coal mining disaster, where 440 men and boys lost their lives. The memorial pays tribute to the legacy of coal mining and remembers the 8,000 people who have died in Welsh mines and the countless others who have died as a result of coal-mining related illnesses.This led some people to take a mining theme for the evening.

Ray Croll - RIP

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of one of Dragon Folk Club's most loved singers. Ray Croll died on the morning of Saturday, 19 October 2013, aged 85.

Before the death of his wife, "V", he had been a regular at many of the folk clubs and open-mic sessions in the Bristol area. He was often out every week-day night with his guitar and a song or two. After her death it understandably took a while for him to get back in gear but that he did. More recently he suffered from  ill health and had several spells in hospital but continued to play and sing when he was able.

Ray's performing style was very engaging as was his manner in general. Always a kind word for everyone and encouragement for those more nervous than himself to sing and play.

You can still capture a little of Ray's charm from his web site, his myspace profile and his presence on YouTube:

Ray on YouTube

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

More Mike songs, and some others

HMS Mars
Mike and Maggie were off on their travels again last week, so some people took a theme of Mike's songs, but since most of us were sung out of them only three weeks before coverage was patchier than last time.

Richard Started off with Tom Lewis' Marching Inland depriving Robin of his first possible Mike song. The theme was kept going for now with Derek singing Three score and ten. Derek said the scribe at one folk club used to note this one down with what seemed to be a strange symbol. Only years later did Derek realise that the strange symbol was "70".

Sunday, 6 October 2013


Bonnie Koloc
This week's session was that annual festival of food, produce and giving - Harvest. Not only was the theme "harvest" but this time, unlike all our other sessions, there was the potential of being fined if you didn't follow the theme. There was a raffle for the produce people had bought and a collection pot in case any remaining money was burning a hole in your pocket. The money raised will be donated to BUST.

The fund was given a flying start by a donation last week from Steve, who knew he wouldn't be able to attend. Despite the small number of people (Maggie said it was her quietest harvest ever) the money soon started rolling in.

Occasional visitor Jan asked for advice on fixing a problem with her garden water feature. Both Steve G and Mike were quick to oblige. You don't have to come to the Dragon Folk Club just for folk music, you know.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Rambling Syd Rumpo rises again

Cyril Tawney
Mike kicked off the session this week with the Heights of Alma about the Battle of Alma which took place, reasonably topically, on 20 September 1854 and is usually considered to be the first battle of the Crimean War.

Last week Mervyn remembered a folk session with the theme "one song sung to the tune of another", and sang his version of Kathy's Song to the tune of The Silkie. He also related that Kitty Vernon had sung Wild rover to the tune of Away in a manger. This week we heard that Derek went home that night singing just that combination in the car. He said it went quite well, but he couldn't possibly repeat something that had been done before. Derek therefore charmed us with Hell's angel (the parody of Wild rover) to the tune of Lord of all hopefulness, which is in turn based on Banks of the Bann. When Paul showed an interest in knowing the difference between these two tunes, Derek dredged his memory and sang, from beyond his already huge repertoire, Banks of the Bann.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Mike's songs

"Gresford mining disaster:
rescue team leaving the air lock"
Mike and Maggie weren't around for this session so Richard was in charge. Mike had embraced the inevitable last week by announcing the theme as "Songs that Mike sings". Most of us were able to rise to the challenge.

There were two and a half occasional visitors present.

Mervyn occasionally joins us when he's passing through on his trips between the South West and Berkshire. Understandably, he didn't attempt to match the theme, singing Rainbow connection "from the singing of Kermit the Frog". It was indeed an original song for The Muppet Movie, written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher. He went on to sing John Conolly's Punch and Judy man and Dolly Grey "collected" from the Black and White Minstrels. He also recalled an evening at another club themed as "One song to the tune of another"; as on that evening, Mervyn sang Paul Simon's Kathy's Song to the tune of The Silkie.

The other one and a half occasional visitors were Steve and Jane. We haven't seen Steve for a while, but Jane's presence is a rare treat with her well-told stories. In particular she said she is starting to tell stories from her own experience, and in that vein she recounted an incident shortly after the end of the Second World War, when a German POW turned around the expectations of the people present by performing a valiant feat.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Cohen and Sands

Leonard Cohen
This week Maggie was absent, apparently packing for a holiday with Mike in nearby Somerset. Mike was around for the first half but left early, declaring that next week should be the now customary "sing Mike's songs" evening, and will be led by Richard, who ably managed the last part of this week's session.

This week's unfamiliar face was Paul, who has visited several times in the last few months, and before that turned up at the club about twenty years ago. Paul played some of his own guitar instrumental compositions: Peppermint Nile, recalling a holiday on the river where stewards had a ready supply of peppermint to combat stomach problems, and an unnamed tune which, when Richard asked what it was called, was quickly named "Richard's question".

Monday, 9 September 2013

Apologies for lateness - law and order

John Tams
It has taken a while to put together the report for last week's session. For that I apologise. I hope it's better late than never.

Mike kicked off with Outward bound. He challenged us to say why this shanty was not a shanty. The answer is that a shanty is either an outward bounder or a homeward bounder. A shantyman would not sing an outward bounder while homeward bound or vice versa but this song includes verses for both outward and homeward bound. In fact it would be sung for hauling while in port but a shanty was by definition a song to accompany work at sea. Hence, it is not really a shanty.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Special edition

Jane Turriff
This is a special edition report, which serves as an addendum to the report on the session of Friday 30 August 2013. It picks up where that report left off, and covers some more of the songs sung on that evening, together with some stories behind the songs.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Civil rights, the sea and rovin'

Joseph Taylor
This week it was Steve G who set himself a personal theme, and it was centred around the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. His songs were also all by Bob Dylan. The first was Oxford Town. He followed that with Only a pawn in their game, about the death of black activist, Medgar Evers. Steve's third song was The lonesome death of Hattie Carroll, which gives a generally factual account of the killing of 51-year-old barmaid Hattie Carroll by William Devereux "Billy" Zantzinger.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Stories, disasters and adventures

Donibristle disaster memorial
This week Maggie 1 brought along a thank you letter from BUST for the money raised at Maggie 2's birthday session on 26 July. As previously announced, we raised a total of £52.65.

Mike kicked off the session with Drink old England dry.

This weeks' new face was Colin (yes, we had two Colins) who regaled us with stories strange and wonderful, and often funny. It wouldn't be polite or particularly useful to recount his stories here, but one went something like this.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

To join my voice with yours and sing a song with all our might

Harry Bridges
We were a little thin on the ground this week but keen enough that when Mike suggested calling it a day at half time, it was decided to carry on. As the song, Friends like these, by George Papavgeris, sung by Robin, says "I've been waiting since last [Friday] just to be with you tonight, just to join my voice with yours and sing a song with all our might".

I didn't discern any themes, intended or otherwise this week and there were no visitors to mention, so I'll just list at random a few of the songs that were sung - maybe some of the less well known (at least to me) ones.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Certainly eclectic

John Twigg
This week's session came with the realisation that wine and beer have gone up 10p. Far less than at some pubs, I was assured by Maggie. Maggie had arranged for a get well card to be sent from the club to Pat who has been in hospital but is now back at home and is understood to be recovering from her operation.

Mike kicked off the session with Firing the Mauritania.

Tom sang Paul Simon's American Tune despite obviously not being his greatest fan - it was sung at Ray's request. Colin took us to the antipodes with Davy Lowston. Gary then moved us to Spain, singing Silenci in Catalan (I think it might have been this, based on a few half-heard words, but my apologies to Gary if I'm wrong). Simon returned us to America with Mark Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia.

Martin was this week's visitor, coming from Sheffield and in the area for just a couple of nights. He took us to his home town with Glossop Road.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

New songs and old

St Nicholas' church,
King's Norton
I'll get the big news out of the way first. Last week's fund raiser for BUST raised a total of £52.65, including donations and the raffle.

I was also pleased this week to see Helen, who contacted me back in March about coming to the club. She is a singer/songwriter guitarist and was concerned that the club might be too traditional and not accepting of her style. I assured her that despite the jokes levelled at guitarists, she would be very welcome, and I hope she felt she was - she seemed to have had fun at least.

So, we were treated to three of Helen's own songs: Lost, Time is Ticking and I would stand. Derek joined in that strand in his own style with his song, Lament for the Fishing.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Happy Birthday Maggie 2

Judith Durham
So, this week was Maggie 2's birthday. Maggie provided a buffet in the break and we had a raffle in aid of BUST. Of course Happy Birthday was sung. Maggie 1 had collected £20 in donations before the night, from Rachel, Betty and Rose that I remember (sorry if I've missed someone). The raffle raised about £47 and the pot was open at the end of the night for emptying your pockets of change. Gerty the dog wasn't feeling too well and spent the evening in her papoose.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Rising from the heat of The Ashes

Cootamundra Wattle
Last week's session was as hot and sweaty as a dingo's armpit except we didn't have a dingo, just Gerty who took great pleasure in sitting on Mike's notebook as he tried to write down the songs we sang. There was also the competition with the band in the bar, which I think we won.

The only theme I discerned during the evening was Australia, introduced by Rachel, and one can only assume, relating to the ongoing Ashes series, in which England seems to be doing well. Rachel's contributions were from the collecting of A L Lloyd: Wallaby Stew and The Shearer's Dream. Tom added Cootamundra Wattle and Rose came in with Diamantina Drover.

Thursday was Maggie's birthday, so we all sang Happy Birthday.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

What shall we do with a drunken folk club?

Sperm Whale
A slight increase in numbers over last week was united in creating a better evening by the silence from last week's rogue speaker. In fact the only unexpected accompaniment was occasioned by Ray's phone, and since Gary was forced to admit that its warble tone was in the right key, this did not constitute a serious problem.

Those non-attenders who had their windows open and heard peals of laughter from the area of Shortwood may like to know the story of its origin. After a mention of whores, Colin was asked to raise the tone, and seemed genuinely convinced that he was about to do so. Hint to readers – when attempting tone-raising, try to avoid a song like New Zealand Whales / Coast of Peru which opens with the words “Come all of you whalermen who are cruising for sperm” (let alone the mention of se[a]men in the next line). In the absence of any other theme for the evening Robin proceeded to give us Dave Oakley's Clonakilty Whaling Song, in which they 'prefer minke to sperm', and Derek could not resist Cruising Round Yarmouth.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Getting down to the beat!

Thank you to Derek for the following excellent report while I'm out on a field trip. I haven't found any interesting new French songs yet.

A new if somewhat distracting addition to the club this week came in the form of the speaker nearest the door, which although allegedly switched off, persistently bled in the bass track from whatever rubbish was being played in the bar. Well done to everyone for coping with it. Singing Rambling Boy to the bass line of Out West by the Pet Shop Boys is something one rarely practices in anticipation. (Ed: Let's hope that's fixed quickly)

Inevitably, given the large number of regulars who last week brought anticipatory absence notes from their mothers, attendance was very slim, and singing was wound up prematurely at 10.30 with Mike singing Child #95 - The Maid Freed From The Gallows, though with omission of some of the less popular verses such as “I think I see my second cousin's daughter in law coming over yonder stile.”

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Vaguely Glastonbury

The elusive Mick Jagger
Mike sang The Sailboat Malarky which was one of the first songs that the Bristol Shantymen sang. At the time Mike worked for a dairy and one of the group members took to singing a version -  The Milkfloat Starkey.

Lesley gave a big build up to one of her favourite songs of 1970 - The Wonder of You. Mike says it was a UK hit for Elvis Presley in 1972 but Lesley was playing it on a jukebox in Jersey, so we'll give the benefit of the doubt that it was popular earlier in the Channel Isles, as apparently it was worldwide outside the UK. Following on from this, Mike later sang In the Ghetto, a request from Maggie.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Colin provides the detail

Fred Jordan
Experimenting with a post from my phone. Many thanks to Derek for this great report from Friday's session.

The attendance at start of play was rather sparse; but before long we got up to a count of 28 legs. Admittedly these figures are slightly massaged by including putative club mascot Gert 'Ratty' V, who was introduced by Mike to the old Bristol craft of chewing beermats. Relaxed by this, she was able to resist Steve's attempt to coax her into doggy noises by starting off the night with Dido Bendigo.

The night's new visitor was Dave from the Bath songwriters' workshop. Unable to find a socket into which to plug his electrical gubbins, he reverted to a capella, singing his own songs and Blow the Wind Southerly, which those of your scribe's generation still associate mainly with Kathleen Ferrier. He also won the raffle.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

June continues with slightly risqué songs

We haven't had any themes recently but as usual this week people found their own minor themes, and that's what I will focus on here.

Mike kicked off the evening, remembering that 2013 marks 26 years since the Northern Ireland peace process was started following the Remembrance Day bombing in Enniskillen. He sang The Enniskillen Dragoons.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

A belated end to May

Stanley Accrington
After last week's abortive attempt at a session, Derek bemoaned not having been able to finish his May songs, so he sang The Easington explosion by Jock Purdon. Rachel took up the slightly belated theme of May with A place called England by Maggie Holland. Derek moved on to Corpus Christi with a version of The Corpus Christi carol and finally admitted that June has arrived with The three O'Donnells.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Piccadilly Circus

Several issues conspired to make tonight less than ideal for a folk session at The Bridge. The pub was very busy, apparently a wake, the window was missing from the door of the function room and the main ladies' toilet was out of action causing our room to be a bit like Piccadilly Circus with "ladies" rushing backwards and forwards through it to use the alternative facilities.

A couple of people had left by the time I arrived - and I wasn't that late. The rest of us spent the time quaffing our drinks, engaged in pleasant conversation, and waiting in case anyone else turned up. Maggie seemed quite upset that the folk club couldn't go on as usual; I assured her that it wasn't her fault and it wasn't the end of the world.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Topical songs

Bob Dylan
Three unofficial, topical themes emerged through the evening this week.

In memory of Drummer Lee Rigby, who was killed in Woolwich this week, Pat sang The trooper cut down in his prime. There seemed to me to be echoes, intentional or otherwise, of the same theme in Dave's "Mother get up and bar the door".

Derek picked as his theme the recent reports that the strain of potato blight that caused the Irish famine has been identified. He went on to sing The praties they grow small and later "Eileen O'Connor" (also called "The Irish Exile").

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Tom - Profile

This article is one of a series on regulars at the club.

Tom has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club since about 1981. In those days it was held at the Lamb in Iron Acton and the pub shut by 11pm. Tom would rush back into Bristol to the Stone House which stayed open until 1am, with every artist imaginable dropping in on their way home from gigs - it was like a folk collage. Tom was able to learn from the best, including Fred Wedlock to Loudon Wainwright III.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

More brief than recently

Al Stewart
Apparently my reports have been too long recently. No, not a complaint from the Dragon Folk club, but at home. You see, I try to complete the report after getting home from a session and a long report can mean very late to bed, especially after checking up all those song references. So, this will be shorter than recent reports and I may carry on that way. It just means I'll only mention songs which had stories attached on the night and I'll risk not mentioning everyone who was there. Sorry in advance.

Mike kicked off the evening with Sam's Gone Away. Derek sang The Four Marys. Apparently there are other titles to this song but Derek explained why he always uses this one. He was at a folk club and talking to a lady who said she was not feeling too good. It was because she had drunk four bloody marys the night before, so Derek began to sing "There were four bloody marys...".

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Letter from BUST

As reported on this blog, we had a charity concert in aid of BUST on 12 April 2013. Maggie has received the following letter of thanks for our donation.

Dear Maggie,

We would like to thank you very much for the cheque for an amazing £150.80 raised at your club from the raffle and your members' generous donations! We are thrilled and grateful that you would like to make this an annual event.

Even though you say that you are a small club, you are obviously inspiring people to help raise funds for BUST. Everything counts to help us support Southmead to be a centre of excellence for diagnostic techniques in breast care.

Thank you once again Maggie, from the Breast Care Team and the committee members of BUST.

Warmest regards

Sheonagh Scott

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Richard in charge

John Jacob Niles
Mike and Maggie were absent from this week's session as planned, so Richard was in charge. Officially there was no theme but "A song what (sic) Mike sings" seemed like a good idea, and about half of us took part.

Richard kicked off with The Holmfirth Anthem. Derek and Simon both followed on with more songs from Mike's repertoire.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

I woke up on a May morning...

The Bristol Shantymen
including our own Mike and occasional visitor, John
I don't think there was an official theme this week, but quite a few people had at least one offering relating to May. Mike opened the evening with Hal an Tow.



We were up

long before the day-o

To welcome in the summer

To welcome in the May-O
Summer is a coming in
and winter's gone away

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Battles, Yeats and slashed wrists

Stanley Holloway
This week's session was well attended. Robin brought along Sylvia, who is an occasional visitor. Mervyn was with us for the first time in two years - not particularly surprising since his usual habitat is Newbury. We also had a couple of non-singing visitors who were very welcome - sorry I didn't get their names.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Apologies for absence

John Kirkpatrick
I wasn't able to attend last week's session (19 April 2013). I am very grateful to Derek for providing this excellent report of proceedings...

The first thing readers of this blog will want to know is that the result of last week's charity session was announced, and came to a grand (and grand it was) total of £150.80 for the breast cancer charity BUST. A surprisingly large number of people laid claim to having contributed the odd 80p! [Ed: I emptied my pockets of change as I left, so I'll add my claim] Our thanks to all who attended our charity night and contributed to that total.

After a week when all seats were taken, the club this week returned to a more usual attendance. But occasional attender Phil made his second consecutive appearance, this time on the eve of his birthday. His contributions included a blast on his harmonica and a self-penned poem on his romantic memories of a sweet shop - both the sweets and the lady owner!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Charity or BUST

John Alderslade
This week's meeting of the Dragon Folk Club was one of those very rare nights when this isn't a session club. It was a charity night in aid of BUST.

BUST is the Breast Cancer Unit Support Trust, the Bristol based charity founded by patients for patients to support the work of the Southmead Hospital Breast Care Centre. The good news is that we raised over £100 for the charity; I'll post the actual figure here when all the counting is done.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

No Theme in Particular

Tom Rush
This week's session had no prescribed theme. It was notable for quite a good attendance, including regular irregulars, Rose, Betty and Geoff, first timer, Ed, and Tom and Ray who just hadn't been for a couple of weeks or more.

Derek returned to the theme of the recent death of Graeme Miles, singing The Shores of Old Blighty, a song he mentioned last week and had never sung before.

Geoff used his guitar slide-style for Tom Rush's Lost my Drivin' Wheel. On Maggie's request, Mike and Kevin sang Banks of Claudy together for the first time in twenty-five years. Apparently they and others used to sing it in five-part harmony. The rest of us filled in as well as we could.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Lesley - Prolfile

This article is one of a series on regulars at the club.

Lesley has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club since 2003. She sings a variety of songs including folk from England and her native Wales, 60s and 70s pop, humorous songs and some which she has written herself.

Lesley has been a member of the Hotwells Howlers and has sung with various church and school choirs. When Lesley was at school she was the guitarist in a  five-piece group called The Cinq Unit which sang the songs of Simon and Garfunkel and The Seekers.

Andy, the son of Lesley and Richard is the lead guitarist and composer with Finnish death metal band, Mors Principium Est on their album And Death Said 'Live'. Even if death metal isn't your scene you may like to check out Andy's version of Come fly with me, recorded for his girlfriend.

Steve C - Profile

This article is one of a series on regulars at the club.

Steve has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club since 2006. He sings mainly traditional folk songs and accompanies himself on the guitar.

Steve took up folk singing when he retired.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Last train for Easter

Graeme Miles
Officially the theme this week was Easter, since the session was on Good Friday. Visitors were Jan and Ian. Also an occasional irregular regular was Jan (yes, there were two Jans!). Gary also made his first appearance for several weeks.

Mike kicked off the evening as usual. He initially thought he didn't have a song on the subject of Easter but Kevin pointed out that he could sing the Pace Egging Song, which he duly did.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Raffle discussions

The Liver Building, Liverpool
Tonight's session had no theme. Apart from a selection of regulars, we were joined by Paul, who was at the session two weeks ago, performing in public for the first time in twenty years. A first-time visitor was John who was known to Robin and Derek.

At one stage the topic of conversation turned to raffles, and in particular folk club raffles. John said that he is very unlucky with raffles and the last but one time he won one was in the 1960s. The prize on that occasion was a 45rpm record of the Maple Leaf Four singing Old Shep. Derek told of a folk club which was sponsored by a butcher, and the raffle prize was always a huge tray of meat - not much good to him as a vegetarian! He proceeded to sing a song about "A ticket for the meat draw".

Friday, 22 March 2013

Steve G - Profile

This article is one of a series on regulars at the club.

Steve G has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club since May 2010. He sings and plays the guitar and banjo, mainly contemporary British and "Americano", also with some self-penned songs.

Steve's influences include Bob Dylan, Bert Jansch, Jackson C Frank, Joni Mitchell, Loudon Wainwright III, The Incredible String Band, Leonard Cohen, Ray Lamontagne, Spiers and Boden, Martin Simpson and lots of others. His instruments are a Guild CO-1C, Takamine EN-20C and a "cheapo" 5-stringed banjo.

Steve comes from a musical family. His father played piano and performed in local pubs. His brother was a professional musician, as is his nephew. Both Steve's sons play the guitar. Steve himself has played the guitar for many years but only joined the local folk scene in 2010. His interest in singing and playing has never been stronger. Steve is inspired by another Dragon Folk Club regular, Ray - and hopes he too can play for a few more years yet.

Steve is a video director  / cameraman and graphic designer. He recently designed a web site for folkie friends, Alan Kirkpatrick and John Shaw.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Colin - Profile

This article is one of a series on regulars at the club.

Colin has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club since 1999. He sings and plays guitar, doing all sorts of songs but mainly folk-based.

Colin has a chequered musical history. He joined a junior church choir and was thrown out. He planned to form a band with some friends, but was unsuccessful. He managed to learn three chords on the guitar in 1970 and having increased that to five chords by 1990, he joined a church music group. Music therapy sessions in 1996 brought him up to a grand total of seven chords. Finally on 25 October 1999 he attended the Dragon Folk Club for the first time.

Richard - Profile

This article is one of a series on regulars at the club.

Richard has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club since 2003. He sings and occasionally plays guitar, preferring English and Welsh songs though sometimes performing his own parodies.

Richard started playing the piano when he was six and reached Grade 8 aged 44! He does Welsh hymn translation (or translations of songs, poems or prose for that matter). You can find out more about Richard on his web site.

St Patrick's Day

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan
Tonight was the nearest Dragon Folk Club session to St Patrick's Day, so the theme was everything Irish.

Let's be clear, with these reports I don't try to name everyone who was present or list all the songs that have been sung, that's Mike's job, and he has a record of everything that has been sung at the club for many years. What I do is simply select a few things that have been said or sung that I think might be of interest. If you were present and aren't mentioned, please don't take offence; I'm sure you'll be mentioned another time.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Mothering Sunday

(poetically called the "gillyflower")
I have to admit I've not totally recovered from my lurgy, and my disruptive cough meant that I felt obliged to leave at the break of last week's session. Nevertheless I was there for most of a cracking first half.

A leak from the gents toilets meant that the carpet had been rolled up and a dehumidifier installed. That didn't stop the folk club though, which, undaunted, continued with normal proceedings in the remaining carpeted half of the room. It was cosier than usual, but no worse for that.

Although there wasn't officially a theme for the evening, various people picked up quickly that it was the closest Dragon session to Mothering Sunday, and that Friday was itself International Women's Day.