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, 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.