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, 23 February 2013

Kevin - Profile

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

Kevin has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club since about 2010 but his association with Mike and Maggie goes back much further than that! He is a singer and guitarist, playing mostly contemporary material such as Bert Jansch, Ralph McTell and Eric Bogle, but he also occasionally plays some traditional songs.

Kevin visited the Troubadour Club in Clifton in his 20s and was hooked. He learnt a lot from the players and singers there and became heavily involved with folk clubs, particularly at Iron Acton and Chipping Sodbury. He has worked as a pub singer and has played in a church worship band. He plays at sessions, festivals and clubs anywhere!

You can find Kevin on YouTube:

22 February

Tonight's session was enjoyable and thankfully uneventful after last week's shambles. Not that the shambles was the folk club's fault. While the number of people present was relatively small, the music kept coming. Notably, Derek sang the Dowy Dens of Yarrow, which is noted in his profile as the song which introduced him to British folk music.

Maggie announced that there will be a special event on 12th April in aid of BUST, the Southmead Breast Care Unit Support Trust. There is a special blog article about it, so please have a look there.

Next week is St David's day, so Welsh themed songs seem appropriate, though don't worry too much if you can't stick to the theme.

12th April 2013 - Charity Night for Breast Cancer

Starring John Alderslade
Supported by a group from the Bristol Shantymen
MC: Kevin Adams

This is advance warning of a special club night in aid of BUST, the Southmead Hospital Breast Care Unit Support Trust. Money raised will go towards equipment for the Breast Care Centre.

Please join us for what should be an excellent night and help us raise money for a worthwhile cause.

There will be an opportunity for floor singers.

John Alderslade

Songs, stories and jokes. Lots of choruses and chances for audience participation

The Bristol Shantymen 

A popular and well known group performing sea songs and shanties (three of its members will be performing at this event)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Derek - Profile

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

Derek has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club since about 2010. He specialises in unaccompanied traditional British folk songs and ballads.

He was brought up in the 1960s when folk song (of a sort) was being played as pop. In time he moved on to such artists as Woody Guthrie and Sarah Ogan Gunning. Then one day he heard a recording of Willie Scott singing the Dowy Dens of Yarrow. At that, Derek gave up Americana and has spent the last 40 years studying and singing British folk songs.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Mike - Profile

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

Mike has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club for "many, many years", since it was held at The Lamb in Iron Acton. He is a fine unaccompanied singer.

Mike has a long history with music, not just folk music. He sang with Dave Marshall and Amanda as the "Terrible Two and Amanda", and also with the "Westerleigh Wailers" who performed many times at folk clubs and festivals.

He is now with the Bristol Shantymen and has appeared with them at folk clubs and festivals all over the country. The group is still going strong although only four original members are still involved: Mike, John Shaw, Dave Byrne and "Pru". Mike has sung with the shantymen on many sea-going vessels and at shanty festivals in Poland, Liverpool, Whitby, Bristol, and Cardiff, among others.

Mike is MC at Maggie's Dragon Folk Club. He has also successfully MCed at other folk clubs and at festivals.

Since this profile was written the role of MC at the Dragon Folk Club has been shared between various club members.

Maggie S - Profile

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

Maggie S has been coming along to the Dragon Folk Club for "many, many years", since it was held at The Lamb in Iron Acton. She doesn't usually sing but she is the lynchpin of the club, doing the organising, including ringing round the regulars when required. It's always nice to be on the receiving end of her warm welcome at the door.

Maggie used to play the bodhrán with "the Swindon mob" and has also sung in several groups over the years. She likes participating and her motto is "music and song by the people for the people", but she feels she is better at organising. She wrote for many years on the subject of folk song and music for Folkwrite and Somers Journal.

The Dragon Folk Club began at The Lamb, Iron Acton where it thrived for seventeen and a half years. Maggie became Treasurer and helped with the Iron Acton Folk Festival and continued to do so after it moved to the Holford Arms. The folk club moved to the Rose and Crown, Iron Acton for two years followed by the George and Dragon for six months and then found a home for the next five years at the Green Dragon, Downend. Maggie took over all organisation of the club and moved it to the Bridge Inn at Shortwood, where it has been since 1995.

Since this profile was originally written, the venue of the Dragon Folk Club has changed again (twice). After a spell at The New Inn, Westerleigh, we are now back at the Bridge Inn. Maggie is now only a very occasional visitor to the club while her husband, Mike remains a regular.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Love Songs

Tonight's session was themed for Valentine's Day, which was yesterday. So, songs were of love, mainly unrequited, as is the way with folk songs. Unfortunately, due to technical problems at the pub, there was more disruption than usual and Mike decided to call an halt to proceedings shortly after the break. Nevertheless there were some interesting songs and we hope everything will be back to normal next week when, I assume, there will not be a theme.

Saturday, 9 February 2013


Tonight's session was the first to benefit from this blog. Jackie and Penny hadn't been along for a while but were spurred to join us by seeing the blog. They were both nervous about singing, but neither needed to be. Derek commented that Penny's first song was one of the three most difficult folk songs to sing, and one he wouldn't even try; Penny did an excellent job with it.

Another visitor was Guy, who hadn't been to the club for a very long time. It seems he may have been a regular around forty years ago. He must have been a babe in arms at the time! His excellent self penned song about Bristol and its relationship to the sea was very well received.

It was good to see Rose and Betty who are relative regulars at the club. Betty's five-string banjo and rich voice are always a particular highlight for me. Rose has already "Liked" the club's Facebook page.

After dredging the depths of the barely respectable (don't worry, I'm perfectly capable of that too) the evening was rounded off by Alan with "Brighouse on a Saturday Night" and by Richard, who MC'ed the second half, with "Blackleg Miner".

Next week is the day after Valentine's day, and there will be a Valentine's theme of "love and lust" or something to that effect. Don't worry if you haven't got anything appropriate, especially if you're a newcomer to the club; our themes are never strictly enforced, whatever ribbing some of the regulars might sometimes suffer for straying.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Facebook Page

I've just set up a Facebook page for the club. It's mainly there to publicise this blog, and the club of course. If you are over at Facebook, please have a look, and be sure to "Like" it. Thank you.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dragon Folk Club Blog Goes Official

Tonight's session was very varied. The rumoured theme didn't happen and there wasn't even the appearance of some ad hoc theme as there sometimes is.

Derek sang a song that caused a sharp intake of breath when he sang it previously, just a few weeks after his first appearance. Apparently a number of regulars also sing versions of the same song. You'll be pleased to know that on this second airing the sky did not fall in; there were only a few good-humoured gasps. I'm just sorry I can't remember the name of the song.

Simon brought along his friend Mike (yes, another one) who makes very occasional appearances at the club, coming as he does, all the way from Reading. Maggie calls him "The Ferret Man" after his singing of Derek Jolly's "My Grandfather's Ferret" (tune - Grandfather's Clock) on a previous visit. Mike S says that Mike T is one of only a few people who can sing lower notes than he does.

Steve and Gary made their first appearances for a while, and a "get well" card was passed around for Ray, who is in hospital at the moment. Get well soon Ray, we miss you!

After having a chat about it with Mike (S), it seems that this Blog can now go official, and I'll try to start doing some publicity on the back of it. We are a friendly bunch, so come along if you have any interest in acoustic music. If you sing or play then don't be shy, everyone gets a chance whatever their ability or genre, and if you don't do either you can come along to listen, join in, or maybe you can be persuaded to recite or read something for the entertainment of all assembled.