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, 14 June 2014

Waulking back to happiness

Engraving of Scotswomen singing
while waulking cloth, c. 1770
Unfortunately the main gents toilet was out of order this week, so as happens on such occasions we had quite a lot of traffic through the function room, though most people were respectfully quiet. Of special note were three young lads who Maggie S asked to be quiet; not only were they quiet but Maggie was very impressed that they thanked her for letting them come through.

Not so happy was the traverse of one well oiled individual, who managed to knock over Alan K's guitar. No serious damage appears to have been done and he was profusely apologetic; not only that, but he stayed to hear the first song, and enjoyed it. Will we see him again when he's a little less relaxed?

Mike started us off with Stormalong. It was originally sung around the pumps and later used as a capstan shanty. According to Stan Hugill there is no doubt it is of African-American origin. It dates to at least the 1830s and 40s.

Last week there was a discussion between Derek and Pat about the most popular songs of the Italian campaign of World War II. There was one missing, which Derek now sang despite Pat not being present. The song was The 51st Highland Division's farewell to Sicily.

Alan K's first contribution, guitar now re-tuned, was There but for fortune by Phil Ochs with an extra verse added by Peter Yarrow.

Colin seemed to slightly puzzle himself with Air falalalo, wondering what the chorus meant. Derek explained that, like waulking songs, the chorus was probably nonsense that just sounded right. Derek wanted to illustrate what he meant but wouldn't attempt a waulking song without rehearsal, so he presented a Gaelic version of Kishmul's galley instead. In case you haven't heard a proper waulking song you can find several examples here.

Simon said that everyone had been talking (in the news) about British values. He suggested that John Conolly's Punch and Judy man has several bases covered: shared experience, seaside holidays and terrible weather.

It was great to see Joe again, this time accompanied by Andy. He sang two of his own songs: Sailor and Nine hundred people all standing in a row. The second of those self-penned songs being inspired by the holocaust. They also sang two songs which he didn't write: John Denver's Annie's Song, and Roger Waters' and David Gilmour's Wish you were here.

At half-time, Maggie L and Gertie turned up. At around that time a chap who had been through to use the facilities said he had four chihuahuas and they were all in the pub garden. We were soon inundated by a hoard of diminutive dogs. It also turned out that this particular dog lover was with the polite young lads already mentioned. Unfortunately Maggie L was very tired and didn't feel she could stay long.

As usual, Derek regaled us with some great traditional English songs: Yellow Handkerchief (Roud 954) and a version of The crabfish (Roud 149) which turned the object of the song into a lobster (beware, this version is slightly ruder than the way Derek sang it but that's the nature of the song).

We were very pleased tonight to see Alan K. Possibly the highlight of his songs this evening, certainly in sing-along-ability was his version of Doc Pomus' and Mort Shuman's Teenager in love... Pensioner in love.

Joe succeeded where others have failed, in getting Mike to finish off the evening with the proper version of Fields of Athenry; Mike usually sings a parody "Fed up of the fields of Athenry". Joe let on that he has written his own parody which tells of Ian, who is caught short and has a need for Immodium (tm). Maybe we will hear that version sometime.

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

(Number of people present - 9 (plus 2 brief visits), of which 7 performed)

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