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, 25 January 2014

Burns' Night one night early

Robert Burns
This weeks' session was the nearest one to Burns' Night, so it was the obvious time to get out Rabbie's works, collections and anything else Scottish. Gerty our resident chihuahua was in fine voice and once Mike had managed to park his car we got going.

Mike kicked the session off with John Barleycorn, which is certainly an English song, but one which Robert Burns collected, presumably on a trip south of the border. Other Robert Burns related songs included:
Derek initially resisted the temptation to sing a Scottish song by improvising a verse about (Gerty) the tricoloured chihuahua before performing a seamless segue into the Tricolour ribbon which is an Irish republican adaptation by Peadar Kearney of All around my hat (Roud 567, Laws P31). His second offering, The bonny hind (Roud 205, Child 50), is Scottish but, as far as we know, has no Burns connection.

Colin's songs were all Scottish to some extent. Matt McGinn's Three nichts and a Sunday is about a man who works a lot of overtime. The gulls o' Invergordon is one of the Ian Campbell Folk Group's songs. Captain Beaky and Hist Band was the origin of The haggis season.

Simon was another all-Scottish contributor with The handweaver and the factory maid, and Laird of the Dainty Dounby. Another Scot-for-the-night was Steve G with the Mingulay boat song, Caledonia (Bert Jansch) and First girl I loved (Robin Williamson - The Incredible String Band).

Tom contributed The corncrake (Roud 2736) - Yes, that's our Tom singing in the video. Gary's Scottish offering was The children are running (Nick Keir).

I wasn't initially sure about Gary's song, Autumn. I found a mention that Martin Wyndham Read had recorded it, and that it was an English traditional song. I'm not saying that's necessarily wrong but both Martin Wyndham Read and Gary have Australian connections and the only other mention of the lyrics I could find on the web was in an Australian newspaper. There, in 1934, a 13-year old girl had written in with the words to the song - it indicates that she copied them, so she wasn't the writer. Is it a traditional song or is the writer known? Is it English or Australian?

Lesley seems to have avoided anything Scottish all evening but she returned to her own Celtic roots with Bugeilio'r gwenith gwyn (Watching the white wheat) which she sang part in English and part in Welsh.

The penultimate song of the evening was Derek's lusty Little Sally Racket before we were "finished off" by Mike, on Maggie S's request, singing Wild Mountain Thyme.

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

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