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, 23 February 2014

Maritime and mining disasters

Just before we started the Drunken Friesian made her first appearance for a few weeks. We thought she was going to leave us alone without a word but at the last minute turned back, apparently threatening death to anyone who found her lost lighter. That seemed a rather upside down take on the idea of thanks or reward. This sent Maggie S into singing a single chorus of Hev you got a loight boy?

Mike started off the session proper with The twenty-third of February, another version of Bold Princess Royal, sung by Derek last week. Apparently there were several different ships under similar names at the time. Derek's was a merchant ship but Mike's is a man o' war.

We were relatively small in number this week, though not as thin on the ground as sometimes in the last couple of months. What we lacked in numbers we seem to have gained in speed, since the number of songs sung in the evening must have been a recent record. Whether the chat was minimised or the songs short we may never know.

Continuing a nautical theme, Robin sung Tom Lewis' Marching inland. There was no official theme this week but a number of informal ones emerged. The sea, mining, disasters and beating the French were three (the Welsh beat the French at rugby sometime during the session).

Richard's first song, Stay at home soldier, written by Barrie Temple, told the story of the Bevin Boys, who were sent down the coal mines during the Second World War rather than being enlisted in the army. This talk of mining led Derek to abandon any idea of starting with a cheerful song, and instead marking the anniversary on 16 February of the Trimdon Grange explosion.

Colin went for Miles Whooton's "cod" nautical tale called The fish finger song. Simon accidentally followed both the nautical and disaster themes by singing, as planned, Hughie Jones' The Ellan Vannin tragedy.

One departure from the themes, unless it can be classed as a disaster (the story, not the song) was Richard's singing of his own Somerville pune. Richard explained that "pune" was a word coined by someone whose first language was not English. It can be a noun or verb and refers to things going wrong. The song was inspired by a dream about everything going wrong at an open mike night and was first performed at the Somerville Club in 2008.

Bringing a lighter tone, Colin sang The fox and the hare, which I was surprised to find is traditional, being Roud 1140 and 3624. Derek on the other hand challenged us all, if we could count to nine, to follow us in his singing in slip jig time 9/8 of Follow me up to Carlow. I don't think anyone managed it.

Once we heard that Waled had won in the Rugby, Mike taunted the French with Paris, here I come. Simon, usually a Francofile, and claiming not to "know one end of a rugby ball from the other", went on to sing Boney was a warrior. I've used that link a) because the words are closer than most to what Simon sang and b) because we talked about it being sung in junior school but I think the verse order in this particular recording may leave something to be desired chronologically speaking.

Derek challenged me to remind me where he found his song about A young mobile librarian because he had forgotten. Unfortunately I haven't been able to help.

Richard sang an unusual version of the Irish song All for me beer and tobacco called All through the ale, which was apparently from the singing of Caryl P Weiss. Another of Richard's contributions I must mention because it has almost become a thread on this blog is What shall we do with the drunken nurker (which can be found here at 19:00 - i.e 19 minutes in), from the singing of Rambling Syd Rumpo (Kenneth Williams).

Simon sang Jake Thackray's Isobel makes love upon national monuments, making it topical by relating it to the recent 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards whose award ceremony was held at the Royal Albert Hall. Robin said he hadn't noticed Isobel when he watched on the "red button".

Mike finished off the session with Parting glass. Next week's theme will be St David's Day so all things Welsh, leek and daffodil!

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

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