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, 5 August 2014

Under fire in the trenches

Thanks to Derek for his report on the first half of this week's session. I (your usual blog report writer) arrived a little after half-time. Here therefore I hand over to Derek...

The title refers less to the content of the week's songs, than to the persistent noise and disruption aimed at us by a group of young yobs who continually 'accidentally' opened the door whilst people were singing, and rattled and banged on the 'stable' doors. Even the saintly and forgiving Gary failed to sing the His Worship and The Pig song (Rough justice) advocating giving them a place in the sun.

Annie, a new visitor, with a fine voice to go with her fine Scottish accent, brought her (completely not going to sing) son and her (possibly next time) husband, and distinctly lifted the general tenor of the singing. Not only that but she admitted to having come as a result of reading the blog. All these words are not in vain!

Keith (H - the Instrumentalist, not the Medic, though he also arrived at his wonted late hour) unusually arrived on his own, to give us the sad news that Pat had gone into hospital; he was shortly followed by an equally alone Rose, who announced the same about Betty. We send both these popular regulars our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

The 100th anniversary on Monday of the start of WWI provided the inspiration for much of the singing in the first half. Some was authentic – Colin's Never Mind and a The tanks that broke the ranks out in Picardy; Mike's I Don't Want to Join the Army/ When This Lousy War is Over. Much more was modern, retrospective and some of it dealing with war in general rather than the specific conflict: Colin's Victory Parade (Ian McCalman) and Srebrenica-based Where Do You Lie? (Annie), Tunes of Glory (Terry), Scarecrow (Richard). Even Rose singing Kipling's Smugglers' Song referenced Kipling's loss of his son in WWI.

Only Keith (Afterglow, The Tower) and Derek eschewed the theme, at least in the first half. Derek used news items from the week concerning a Suffolk vet struck off for immoral practices, and an attempt to increase tourism in Newbiggin, Northumberland, to justify singing respectively Cod-banging and Johnny Handle/ Pandrich's Farewell to the Monty.

The second half, after the arrival of the usual scribe, was relatively quiet but enjoyable nonetheless. Simon. having completed the rather eccentric trip from Derbyshire to Bristol via Lincolnshire, sang Dave Sudbury's King of Rome, which is set in the West end of Derby a year before the start of WWI.

Mike referred to an earlier war, this time with the Dutch, singing Skipper Jan Rebeck before Derek returned to the war in question with Dominic Williams' Tommy's lot, while Annie reflected on a woman's role in war with Judy Small's Mothers, daughters, wives, a song which she apparently had never previously sung in public, but to which she definitely did justice.

When Keith G arrived, he was quickly asked to sing, and he came up with an unusual, laid back, jazzy, version of the Del Shannon rock and roll classic, Runaway (Shannon and Crook).

Rose sang The coming of the roads, written by Billy Edd Wheeler. It was suggested that the song was about Cornwall, but the first line "Oh, now that our mountain is growing" caused some puzzlement with the lack of mountains in that county. Wheeler is from West Virginia, and the song is apparently about the writer's homeland discussing all the issues confronting Appalachia: the new highways that made it accessible to outsiders, the desecration of the the land by strip mining machines, and the weakening of values by the hunger for wealth. The woman in the song has been seduced by the new alien ways, and her lover can only lament, blaming her leaving on the coming of the roads.

Derek finished off the session with Kipling's The Lowestoft boat.

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

(Number of people present - 14, of which 11 performed)

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