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.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A late May miscellany

Frank Kidson
Some people managed to keep up the May theme this week, and even Richard found one May song, having previously given up after spending most of the preceding four months singing them. Apart from that we had somewhat of a miscellany this week.

Mike kicked off proceedings with the Card playing song (Roud 884). According to the sleeve notes of the album Bold Sportsmen All: Gamblers and Sporting Blades on which Ewan McColl sings the song, "Folksong collector Frank Kidson obtained this song from a soldier who learned it in India in the 1850s. Originally, each verse was sung by a different member of the company, who drained his glass midway through the stanza, to give himself inspiration. Other less decorous versions have come to light. This example is offered to would-be singers as a model on which they may make their own improvisations."

It was good to see Terry, relieved from morris dance duties for the evening. His first song was Hughie Jones' Ellan Vannin tragedy.

Richard's first offering was Only nineteen years old. Richard first heard this song sung by Irish band, DanĂº. It tells of a man who marries a maid who claims to be only nineteen years old but isn't quite what she seems. I explain that, and include a link to the words because the only version I found on YouTube was in Slovak - Richard sang this song in English.

Lesley sang a song which was in the repertoire of the late Dragon Folk Club stalwart, Ray Croll: Searching for lambs (Roud 576).

At around this point we were joined by Maggie L and her excitable little dog, Gertie. Maggie hadn't visited us for some time, and everyone was pleased to see her but not half as pleased as Gertie seemed to be to see everyone. When things had calmed down a little we returned to the business of the session.

Lady Isobel (Child 261) was Derek's contribution, a tale of incest, not to be confused with the more commonly sung Lady Isobel and the Elfin Knight (Child 4).

Colin took us drinking with At it again by Andy M Stewart, then Simon gave us Mark Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia, which completed the first round of the room. With only seven singers this week it came round quite quickly. In fact almost everyone got to sing five songs this week.

The session was brought to a close by Simon, singing When all men sing (words by Keith Scowcroft, tune by Derek Gifford).

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

(Number of people present -10 and one dog, of which 7 performed - and so did the dog)


  1. Gotcha at last! The Luke Kelly song you linked to is Charles O'Neill's Easter Rising song The Foggy Dew, whereas I sang Phil Hammond's version of the traditional The Foggy Foggy Dew. It's foggier than you think!

  2. Derek, It's good to see that you look. I was a bit concerned that it might be the wrong one but I didn't want to spend too much time checking. I'll look at it when I get a chance and try to fix it. Thank you.

  3. ...and I was so careful to get the right James Connolly. The more common one being "A great crowd had gathered Outside of Kilmainhaim...".

  4. Derek, Foggy, Foggy Dew now fixed - Burl Ives singing. :-)