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, 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.

Mike started off with a theme related to the current, thus far mainly bloodless conflict in the Crimea, remembering that other conflict in the same peninsula. His songs on this subject were Heights of Alma (Roud 830, Laws J10) and Sebastopol (Roud V5007).

Derek's first March offering was Get me down me filling knife by Dominic Behan (no I can't hear "March" in this version and I can't find written lyrics either). He quickly descended to marching with Ethna Carbery's Roddy McCorley about an Irish rebel who was executed on 28 February 1800 (not quite March).

Apart from the already mentioned theme's Rose inspired two on-the-spot mini theme's. The first came from her singing of The water is wide (Waly Waly), in memory of her friend Mervyn Penny. This song comes from a large group of songs which may or may not all be connected. This led Derek to sing Jamie Douglas (Child 204) which uses the same tune and some of the same words.

Rose's second mini theme catalyst was Freight train, written by Elizabeth Cotten at the age of 11 or 12. Elizabeth's is a fascinating story, I would encourage you to follow the link if you don't know it, and note that the previous link lets you hear her singing her own song. This led to two other train songs as Simon sang Jean Ritchie's The L&N don't stop here anymore, and Colin sang This train.

Mike gave us a final chance to inflate our lungs when he closed the session with Roll the cotton down.

Remember that next week is our St Patrick's Day session so bring you Irish songs: songs of shamrock and shillelaghs, rebels and rugby, stout and suffering, lilting and loving.

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

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