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, 7 June 2014

Dodging around the matter of D-Day

A pretty good turnout this week, and 100% singers! However I won't celebrate about that too last part too much since the 100% mark was only reached because Maggie S isn't feeling too well; get well soon Maggie!

We had a brief visit from Ant and Alan (?) of Downend Folk Club which is a new guest club meeting one Friday a month at Frenchay. There's an obvious conflict of interest there but I hope we can get on and be neighbourly. Unfortunately they weren't able to stay long enough to see what we do.

Setting up for a theme, Mike asked us all what happened "tomorrow" (7 June).. I'm still not exactly clear what he meant. Derek, jokingly referred to the third practice and qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix. Mike went on to theme himself on D-Day but that was 6 June, so I'm still confused but some of us followed that as a theme anyway.

Mike kicked off with Keith Marsden's Normandy orchards. Pat later sang another Keith Marsden song: Saint Aubin sur Mer.

Steve actually took up Derek's unintentional challenge and dedicated to the Canadian Grand Prix the song Tiny fish for Japan written by Stan Rogers, which is about pollution and fishing in the Canadian Great Lakes.

With both Keith H and Paul in the house we had a treat f or anyone wishing to listen to guitar instrumentals.As usual Paul was somewhat circumspect regarding titles. His first tune was untitled and his second he calls Leonised, after an American guitarist; I didn't catch the name but I think it may have been Leo Kottke. Keith  H, fresh from a one hour interview on Bristol Community Radio earlier in the day, regaled us with Portway, Mongolian dreams and Spring mornings. I have to admit that Portway is one of my favourites out of Keith's repertoire.

Before singing his second song of the evening, Derek remarked that as he had started to sing his first, and after forty two years of singing both of them, he had only just noticed the connection. Both are aislings (pronouned "ashlings"), that is they are songs about dreams, and they both mention June. Simon pointed out that they could in fact be about a shared dream since in The three O'Donnells, the protagonist "saw a clipper ship" (slightly different in the linked recording) and in Spancil Hill, the voice says "I stepped on board an clipper ship".

Kevin's first song of the evening was Allan Taylor's The veteran: "Do you sing for the endless list of names, etched on marble stone?" Simon's first was the French drinking song Chevaliers de la table ronde. Richard opened his contribution with Rambling sailor (Roud 518) and Lesley opened hers with The mantle of green (Roud 714).

Colin returned us with a bang to the Second World War with Tell me boys have you any complaints? That song declares that "It would be far more honest to say that brown stew was stew that was bl**dy browned off" which leads nicely into Pat's Browned off, written by Ewan McColl.

Mike stepped in where Simon feared to tread with D-Day dodgers (Roud 10499), about those soldiers who "missed" D-Day while on deployment in Italy. The song is famously unfair to Nancy Astor, who probably never called them D-Day Dodgers.

We had some discussion about Robin's next contribution, Johnny I hardly knew ya, which seems to be an anti-war song, about a soldier who has been blown to pieces. Apparently however it was originally considered to be a comedy song, and references in it are to the Kandyan Wars in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon, or the "Sulloon" of the song) between 1796 and 1818. Gary seemed concerned about the meaning of "Hurroo" in the chorus but it seems a reasonable version of "Hooray" (or "Hurrah" or "Huzzah" depending on your upbringing).

Kevin finished off the evening with Tom Paxton's The last thing on my mind.

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

(Number of people present -13, of which all 13 performed)

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