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.

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.

The evening was kicked off by Richard with Firing the Mauritania.

Derek had announced the previous week that he wouldn't be singing any of Mike's songs because he had too many seasonal 20-something of September songs to sing. He broke that promise though in starting his contribution with Homeward (Home boys, home), a poem by Cicely Fox Smith and set to music by Sarah Morgan, who had died the previous Saturday. True to his word, Derek quickly left Mike's songs behind, singing Kevin Barry (yes Derek, I found the Leonard Cohen version for you), which deals with the events of 20 September 1920. His other contribution was The Gresford Disaster which occurred on 22 September 1934. I found this video which may be of interest - search YouTube for "Gresford" and you'll find some more.

Simon pointed out that while several songs Mike sings are in (or close to) his repertoire, the only one of them he believes he has actually heard Mike sing is The tailor's breeches. His other contributions were The rout of the blues and When all men sing.

Richard sought not to be led astray by Simon's Newfoundland version (no doubt with plenty of "folk process" on the tune) of Rant and roar, when singing the British version, Spanish ladies. When he sang The belle of Belfast city, Richard was accompanied by Derek on the spoons.

Lesley also followed the theme, singing Max Boyce's Duw it's hard, Malcolm Austen's [Ed: Corrected after the original posting] parody of Fields of Athenry, (Fed up with the) Fields of Athenry, Farmer's Boy and South Australia.

Honourable mention goes to Tom's own song Memory Store (because he's got it on YouTube), to Steve's singing of The blue cockade, and to Colin's rendition of Hob y Deri Dando. Richard closed the session with Drive Sorrows Away.

Here's a selection of these songs plus some others sung during the session.


  1. Oh no not the fields of Athenry was written by Malcolm Austen not Les Barker. Mike.

    1. Mike - Now corrected in the main article. I think there was some confusion on the Mudcat threads where I looked originally. It was easy to confirm your correction though once I had the name. Thank you.