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.

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.

Mike kicked off with I can hew boys. Derek continued with a Cornish mining song with a traditional chorus and verses written by a 17-year-old boy from Essex. It was A-mining we will go, sung to the tune of The grand old Duke of York.

Now almost a regular, Paul, was there with some of his own instrumental compositions on guitar, and more more confidence than before (well done). He however continued the mining theme by telling of his grandfather, who worked in a mine at Pontypridd and died when Paul was five of Miner's Lung (Silicosis). The doctor however put on the death certificate that he died of a heart attack. Paul never heard the end of this from his grandmother who, because of this “error”, missed out on her regular free sacks of coal. Mike added to Paul's understanding of the story that the doctors were often paid off by the mine operators to indicate that the cause of death was not related to mining.

Derek continued the mining theme with Dust by Johnny Handle and Betty contributed Jean Ritchie's Black Waters, which is about the environmental effects of mining in the USA. Steve G continued with American mining, this time for iron ore, with Bob Dylan's North country blues. You could (jokingly) almost say that Rose's singing of Tom Paxton's My lady is a wild flying dove was on theme: “she's mine, mine, mine”, but maybe not. Betty however was certainly on-topic with The recruited collier (Roud 3503).

While Simon didn't contribute anything directly to the mining theme, he evoked industrial suffering with The chemical worker's song (process man) by Ron Angel (via Great Big Sea) and Bruce Springsteen's Factory (via Mike Harding).

Colin also didn't have anything directly related to mining, but sang Pete Seeger's Sailing down my golden river which is about cleaning up the Hudson River.

Mike finished off the evening with Leave her, Johnny (Roud 354).

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

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