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, 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!

The meagre handful of regulars were joined by Trevor, The Bard of Windmill Hill, who recited two of his entertaining poems: WiFi wife deals with a man who replaces his wife with a WiFi router, while Meeting Mister Hog is a parable starting with what he did when he found a hedgehog roaming his house at night.

Maggie pointed out that this was the closest Dragon session to Saint Andrew's day, so all of the regulars rose to the challenge of singing Scottish songs at some point during the evening. Mike started off the session with I will go and later sang The wild mountain thyme - Maggie complained that he sang this "going home" song too early in the evening. Steve contributed Jock Stewart and Bonny ship the Diamond. After stumbling on it the first time round, Simon managed to sing The handweaver and the factory maid. Derek eventually came to the Scottish theme with Bonnie Jeannie o' Bethelnie after singing some songs arising from the previous week's session (more about some of that in a moment).

The previous week Colin sang Freeman's waistcoat, which reminded Derek of a song which he was unable to sing without some preparation so, good to his word, this week he sang The Caister lifeboat disaster, a song which he learnt from Tom Brown of Norfolk, who would finish his rendition by going round the audience collecting for the RNLI. The song, apparently one of two with the same title, tells of a 1901 disaster which occurred off the coast at Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk in which the lifeboat Beauchamp went out to help a vessel on the Barber sands. The lifeboat was unable to reach its target in heavy weather and on returning to the shore capsized, trapping the crew beneath the boat. There were only three survivors of the twelve-strong lifeboat crew.

Again, the previous week, Derek sang a song which was to the tune of McCaffrey. So Derek sang McCafferty, a song about Patrick McCaffrey, executed in 1862 for the killing of two of his officers. It had also been suggested that the tune was that of The croppy boy. Derek said there were two songs called The croppy boy, linked only by their tune and the last verse. The thing is that Derek knew them to a different tune, but having thought about it the both seemed also to fit the McCaffrey tune. In the end he sung both songs: the first to the "proper" tune and the second to the tune of McCaffrey. Apparently someone who attended the club many years ago sang the first to McCaffrey and that is the way they knew it.

Mike finished off the evening by singing Three score and ten, based on the original poem by Grimsby fisherman William Delf, written to raise money for the wives and children of men lost at sea following a great storm in 1889 on the East coast of England which took the lives of about 70 men (the three score and ten of the poem and song).

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

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