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, 7 September 2014

Sick notes, back spasms and hard work

Addie Laird, 12 years old.
Spinner in a Cotton Mill.
Girls in mill say she is
10 years old, February 1910
There were a couple of announcements from Maggie at the head of this week's session. Following the recent death of our good friend Pat, Maggie announced that there will be a session in her memory on 3 October. Pat was being cared for at St Peter's Hospice so the raffle and any other donations that evening will be for the hospice. The week before, 26 September, will be Harvest, so bring along your harvest songs and produce. Any money raised that evening will also go to the hospice.

Pat's funeral will be at the United Reformed Church, Thornbury at 10:30 on Friday, 12 September with a wake afterwards at The Ship Inn, Alveston. There will of course be the usual Dragon Folk Club session in the evening, which will be MCed by Richard.

This evening was Paul's first visit to the club since the time he asked Derek whether he had intentionally sung one particular song flat. Derek pointed out that he had acquired the song from the singing of Kitty Harvey. Derek described her as the worst traditional singer he knew but tempered that with the fact that she wouldn't have called herself a singer but was simply someone who knew a lot of traditional songs. This week he came prepared with a recording of the said traditional singer on his phone which he forcibly played to Paul.

Mike started off the session proper with When Johnny comes marching home (Patrick Gilmore).

Derek themed his songs around our late friend, Pat, starting with his customary funeral song, What's the life of a man (Roud 848). Having calculated that he would have enough in reserve for 3 October, he continued to sing songs from Pat's repertoire: Bonnie house o' Airlie (Child 199) and Jamie Foyers (Ewan McColl),

A minor theme developed when Lesley sang Cotton mill girls (Roud 11548) and Simon followed up with Poverty knock (Roud 3491).

It was good to see Joe again, and for his first he roped in Richard (borrowing a guitar) and Josci for House of the rising sun. Maggie commented that Josci has a good singing voice and we should hear more from her. Next time round she sang with Joe for Feeling good (Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse). Everyone helped Joe with Sloop John B. Mike proudly declared that, with the Bristol Shantymen, he had topped the Polish charts with this song but that following the devaluation of the Zloty, the royalties were worth almost nothing!

As already mentioned, Paul made an appearance, and for the first time he and his former colleague, Jan managed to get it together to be in the same place at the same time. Paul started off, as is his habit, with a guitar tune which he had given no title. Asked about it's story it turned out to have been written when he was lying in bed, incapacitated. Since he is currently staying with his wife's brother (and for no other reason), Mike entitled the tune "Back spasm (in bed with brother-in-law)". Paul's second was a repeat outing for his tune The hotties.

Jan's first was How will I ever be simple again? (Richard Thompson) which she followed up with Roll me on the water (Bonnie Koloc).

Richard's unusual approach was to start with The sick note (Pat Cooksey), which tells of why "Paddy's not at work today". If that wasn't enough he sang the response to his first, which was Sicknote: the reply (Stanley Accrington).

On Maggie's request, Mike sang Come write me down (Roud 381), as he always does around this time of year, it being their wedding anniversary soon and that being "Maggie's song".

Jan finished off the session with The Roseville Fair (Bill Staines).

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

(Number of people present - 12, of which 10 performed)


  1. The harvest night is on the 26th Sept not 26th Oct Mike

  2. Hi Mike, Absolutely right. How could I have made that mistake? I will put it right immediately. Thanks