There was a superb turn-out for this week's session. I am sure that was thanks mostly to Maggie's efforts in ringing round the regulars and irregulars. Thanks go to all who turned out for this only slightly belated St George's Day session and to give the best possible impression for Neil, who returned to the club to film the first half of the evening.
Neil is planning to make a documentary film about the club. On his previous visit he found our accustomed lighting level too low for his camera, so this time he brought his own light source and proceeded to shine it at anyone who dared to open their mouth to sing or touch a guitar to play.
There were a lot of people there, and we only got twice round everyone in the evening, so here goes trying to mention everyone present at least once...
Mike started off the session by inviting us all to Drink old England dry. Steve's first contribution was Rose of Allendale, with words by Charles Jefferys and music by Sidney Nelson (1800-1862), composed in the 1840s.
Richard had a request from Maggie to sing his own composition, sung at the club every St George's Day session but one since he wrote it in 2003: Puff and bold St George, sung to the tune of Puff the magic dragon, telling the obviously true story of a dragon which lived at Westerleigh and frolicked in Chipping Sodbury. Lesley also had a self-penned song to share. Hers was without a title, so I called it Maggie and Mike which seemed to fit. In it each verse ended with "...and Mike said Amen". The tune was Villikins and his Dinah, being based on the song Soldier and a sailor.
Terry's first song was Eric Bogle's Leaving Nancy. Tom (M) was another to receive a request from Maggie. He said he hadn't done it for a long time and seemed a little rusty initially, but in the end produced a typically accomplished rendition of Dave Paskett's I couldn't take my eyes off her.
About his first song, Derek admitted it was not St George related, but said that the only opportunities to sing it in the year were this week or the previous week. Since he had not already sung it it would have to do for this evening. The song in question was The week before Easter (Roud 154) - the recording isn't exactly the version sung by Derek.
It was good to see Pat and Keith who haven't been able to come too often recently. Keith entertained us with one of his own classical guitar compositions, Autumn time. Pat complied with Maggie's request and sang the Reedcutters daughter.
Steve G and Jo got together to perform Banks of the Nile (Roud 950, Laws N9). Colin followed that with Richard Thompson's The new Saint George.
Simon hadn't found anything to sing that was explicitly about England, but since Derby is definitely in England, he sang Dave Sudbury's King of Rome.
Next up was documentary-maker Neil's friend Tom, who read a poem by Harvey Kershaw called Street scene, which told the story depicted in an LS Lowry painting.
Gary half told a story of meeting a man from the South East of England who seemed to have a dislike for Saint George and inspired him to write a song about it. Unfortunately Maggie's phone call, urging him to come to this week's session came just as he was putting the tune to memory, so he wasn't sure whether it would come out right. He asked Derek to help him given that neither of them knew the song nor the tune! I am not sure what Gary called the song but I have called it Raise the white dragon of England.
Arriving after we had stopped for the interval, Alan K was not filmed. Neil suggested filming Alan on the terrace outside the pub but he thought they might not survive the experience. The pub's not really that rough but the regulars might wonder what's happening and their reaction would be unpredictable. After the break Alan sang Johnny Cash's I still miss someone.
The last person who I must mention was Joe, a newcomer to the Dragon Folk Club, who recruited Tom (M) as his accompanist at the interval and in the second half delivered an engaging rendition of Ralph McTell's Girl from the hiring fair, even though Tom's arrangement wasn't quite what he expected.
The final song of the evening came from Mike who noted that apart from being two days after St George's Day, 25 April was ANZAC Day, and to mark that fact he sang Eric Bogle's And the band played watzing matilda.
Here's a selection of these and other songs sung during the session.
(Number of people present - 20 of which 17 performed)