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, 29 March 2014

Steeleye, unions and other things

Woody Guthrie
There was no theme this week so everyone sang whatever they wished. Mike kicked off the evening but I unfortunately arrived just after he finished his first song, so its identity remains a mystery to me. Next came Robin with Barbara Allen. Derek's first of the evening was Admiral Benbow.

Both Richard and Simon showed Steeleye Span influences in their first songs: Richard with Thomas the rhymer and Simon with Boys of Bedlam.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Taking the Michael

Cyril Tawney,
who wrote Grey Funnel Line
(I would like to thank Derek who stood in for me as "scribe" at this week's session and provided the following report)

With your regular scribe absent, an exhausted and ashen-faced replacement arrived, having come from running, for Sport Relief, a one mile cross-country in a torrential hailstorm.

With Mike and Maggie lost to the fleshpots of Bognor, reliving their babyhoods in the 1960s, Richard was in charge of a small but select band who met to celebrate the Spring, discuss music, swap anecdotes – but most of all to sing our way through as much of Mike's repertoire as possible before he could get back and fine us.

Mike's musical proclivities therefore led to a lot of shanties, fore-bitters and just general Songs of the Seven Seas being performed, in the certain knowledge that even if none of us could remember his singing the song in question, provided that it had a ship in it somewhere, he probably had dibs on it anyway. So the evening sailed along from the Grey Funnel Line to the Fish of the Sea (the latter being a version remarkably deficient – to my East Anglian ear – in any mention of Happisburg Light!) and from the Shantyman of the Wildgoose Nation to Roll the Woodpile Down (which at my advanced age I always associate with Dave Macon).

Saturday, 15 March 2014

St Patrick's Day

Belfast-born Jimmy Ellis in his
Z-Cars role as Bert Lynch. (Photo: Barratts)
Before the start of the session, and in fact before I had arrived, we were visited by our customary "Fresian", who even if not as drunk as sometimes, was not very pleasant to Maggie S. We have now been promised a lock on the door by the pub. It is important to be aware that it will not be intended to keep out anyone who wants to join us, so if you come along and find the door locked, please wait for a break in the music and knock on the door. You will not only be invited in but you will be made very welcome.

Tonight was our St Patrick's Day session and almost all of the songs were Irish related. The exceptions were Paul, who entertained us with his own instrumental guitar compositions as usual and Derek's second song, in memory of Tony Benn who died this week. When Tony Benn was on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, one of his records was He who would valiant be to the tune Monk's Gate. Derek therefore took the opportunity to sing another song to that same tune.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Seventh of March-ing on to war

Mervyn Penny, the founder
of Swindon's White Horse Folk Club,
who died recently at the age of 90
Before we started the session this week there was much reminiscing by Derek, Mike and Maggie S about the traditional singer, Fred Jordan. Derek in particular remembered a story about him being taken to an art gallery to see works by Constable and Stubbs, showing rural scenes and livestock. Fred took to complaining about the accuracy of the paintings: "that cart will tip over" or "I wouldn't buy that horse". After a short while he had a crowd of people round him lapping up his every word. Soon the word got round that he was an art critic and when he left he was given an appropriately respectful send-off.

We were joined this week by Rose, who we hadn't seen at the club for a while, and a non-singing visitor, Bob.

There was no official theme to the session this week but Derek explained he had searched for "March" to remind himself of what he might sing of relevance to the new month. The issue was that it threw up a lot of songs about marching, so that ambiguous search became the basis for his song selection.

Monday, 3 March 2014

St David's Day

Phil Tanner (www.folkwales.org.uk)
This week's session was held on the eve of St David's Day, so the theme was anything vaguely related to that day, to Wales or symbols of Welshness. Well for the sake of convenience it was also stretched to whales, or rather whaling!

Mike started the evening off with Hob y Deri Dando, even singing one verse in Welsh, while Steve kicked off the pseudo theme of whaling with Bonny ship the Diamond.

Our one Welsh regular, Lesley, despite earlier promises, wasn't able to be with us, but Richard, her husband, filled in ably, singing all of his songs in Welsh. He started off with Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech (Men of Harlech), went on to ffoles Llantrisant (Foolish Llantrisant girls) and Calon Lân (Pure heart) with words by Daniel James and tune by John Hughes). Next came fflat Huw Pugh by John Glyn Davies (link in Welsh), about legendary Welsh sailor, Huw Pugh the captain of a 60 ton "flat" ship named the Ann of Liverpool.