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, 31 January 2015

Advice and disasters

The trawler Ross Cleveland
Richard was once again MC for the evening and he kicked off the session with Tarry Wool.

Things were back to normal this week after Burns' Night last week, although Derek's mentioned that his first song, McPherson's Farewell, was claimed by Burns but that he didn't write it. Unfortunately my research has only uncovered people claiming that Burns did write it; so although I trust Derek in these things I haven't been able to unearth the history he is getting at.

Lesley sang Harry Eddom (Bill Meek), which is about the tragic sinking of three Hull trawlers in January and February 1968. The trawlers were St Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland. Harry Eddom, the mate of the Ross Cleveland, was the only survivor.

Chris's singing of Bold Fenian Men (Peadar Kearney) started a conversation about the song being in a John Wayne film. If you have watched the linked clip you may know by now that it was John Ford's 1950 film, Rio Grande.

Simon had been checking for anniversaries occurring today (30 January) and had noticed it was Les Barker's birthday, so he read Les' poem, Have you got any news of the iceberg?

Colin had found Ben Backstay, a later version than Charles Dibdin's original tragic romance, this is a comedy shanty, first documented by Frank Shay in 1948. This prompted Richard to suggest a mini theme of songs offering advice, for this offered the advice "never mix your grog too strong, but always take it neat!". Keith G's next offering was My Grandfather's Ferret (Derek Jolly); whether a moral can be read from that is debatable - be careful when feeding animals with sharp teeth?

Lesley's song, Married to a Trawlerman (John Conolly) advises girls not to wed someone who engages in that trade. Derek managed to follow that theme while conforming to his own commitment to sing songs which were sung sung by Fred Jordan. He managed that feat with The Gypsy's Warning.

Terry sang The Dutchman (Michael Peter Smith) and Mike followed up with a song he claimed was about that Dutchman's father: Mein Vater Vos Ein Dutchman.

Chris pulled Danny Boy (Frederic Weatherly) which many know as one of Maggie S's least favourite songs. Since Maggie wasn't actually present and his book happened to fall open at the page, Simon ventured to sing another of her pet hates, Summertime (George Gershwin). Richard suggested that Keith G might like to complete the set with the Chinese Bumboat Song but he sensibly ignored the suggestion and gave us JJ Cale's If You're Ever In Oklahoma instead.

A short while after Roger had given us a Marty Robbins medley of Streets of Laredo and Red River Valley on his harmonica, Derek invited him to reprise the latter tune as he sang Jarama Valley, which uses it together with an evolution of words written by Alex McDade.

Keith H entertained us with two of his less-often-played tunes: Silhouettes, and Opal And The Sapphire.

Gary sang his own song, White Poppy and, to mark the tenth anniversary of the day when the state of Queensland stopped chasing his mother for her taxes, Eric Bogle's Shelter.

Phil asked permission to sing a religious song as the penultimate one of the evening, giving us Little Log Cabin By The Sea (WC Hafley, adapted by AP Carter) before Simon finished off the evening by returning to the theme of songs offering advice ("Don't you be a dusty miner boy like me") with The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore (Jean Ritchie).

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

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

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