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, 11 May 2014

Aussie rules

John Williamson, Australian
country music singer-songwriter
A new feature this week in the blog report: by special request I have recorded the number of people present at the session. I have also back-dated this feature by two weeks, so you can see that we had a bumper week on 25 April, when there were 20 people present, of which 17 performed.

The other piece of news this week is that the club has had some problems with one of the pub's regulars: problems which have been mentioned on this blog in the past. This week Maggie received an apology from that person. We hope that will now be the end of the matter and if it is there will be no further mention of it here.

There was much jollity and wide ranging discussion again this week, often relating to the relative merits of various Yorkshire and Lancashire towns. Being from Lincolnshire myself, I should have had the sense to stay out of it but I am afraid I didn't.

Mike started off the session with Lish young buy-a-broom (Roud 1865)

We were very pleased to have Geoff visit us this week. He had an interesting story in that he emigrated to Australia in 1974, and returned only three years ago in retirement, now travelling around the country. Apparently he only started to play the guitar and sing in public two and a half years ago but you would never know it.

Geoff was unnecessarily embarrassed at not having any songs to sing which he considered to be folk. Unnecessarily because anything goes at the Dragon Folk Club as long as it's acoustic. That isn't to say that some songs won't become the cause of much hilarity, but it is not meant to be taken badly.

His first offering was John Williamson's The bushman's can't survive. Later he sang What's the use of wings, written by Brian Bedford of Artisan. Geoff's other two songs were self-penned: Georgina58 tells the story of an ill-fated attempt to find romance through a dating web site; and a very entertaining parody of Island in the sun telling of the delights for Geoff, and some of the trials, of retiring to the UK.

Geoff's presence and the later arrival of Gary, our own piece of Australian influence, caused Australia to join May as the two regular themes among the songs sung on this occasion.

Derek kicked off the May theme. Last week Mike sang Hal-an-tow (Roud 1520) which comes from the May celebrations at the town of Helston in Cornwall. This week Derek sang a version of the same song coming from Constantine, a village only five miles or so from Helston, but with it's own distinct version.

Gary's Australian contribution was Irish Lords, a poem by Charles Henry Souter put to music by Martyn Wyndham-Read. Derek's was Ned Kelly's farewell to Greta, collected by Norm O'Connor, Bob Michel and Mary-Jean Officer from Mrs Peaty of Brunswick, Victoria in 1959. Mike added Ryebuck shearer, collected by John Meredith from Jack Luscombe and Ernie Sibley.

Simon took to creating matching pairs. To Steve's God speed the plough, he added Buttercup Joe, and to Richard's Early one evening, telling of one dodgy pub, he added House of the rising damp. I hope very soon to be able to include a recording of the latter song, based on House of the rising sun and written by Mary McCloud, another antipodean.

Another final matching pair, though nothing to do with Simon, involved Lesley singing Les Barker's Hard cheese of old England and Derek adding his own song, You can't eat bang, apparently about the inedibility of a Suffolk cheese of that name.

Mike asked Derek to finish off the session, which he did with a May song, and one with a sing-along chorus: Little ball of yarn.

Here's a selection of these and other songs sung during the session.

(Number of people present - 10 of which 9 performed)

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