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, 29 March 2015

Tunes help you breathe more easily

With your regular scribe away on the road to Gallivant, I find myself thrown off the comfortable subs' bench to report the pre-Easter meeting of the Dragon Club. [With notes like this from the regular scribe]

The unfortunate incapacity of Maggie, who broke her wrist in a dog-walking-related incident, meant that Indie (apparently not suffering any Maggie-walking-related injuries) arrived accompanied only by Mike. Mike surveyed the book to count the shell holes put into his repertoire during last week's Mikeless free-for-all, but had no difficulty in beginning with a couple of Keith Marsden songs – Idlers and Skivers and The Drovers.

We welcomed our old friend Joe, accompanied by his chauffeuse [Josci], on their first visit to the new site. Although he had not brought any song texts with him, he took the lead in singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot, eked out by other verses contributed by assorted (probably) ex-rugby players. This was enough to qualify him as one of 8 performers among the ten people present.

In all, some 33 songs were performed – but only 29 tunes, due to Derek's insistence on singing all five of his songs to the tune of Youghall Harbour/Father Murphy's Air – some (e.g. Peadar Kearney's Foot and Mouth) appropriately, others (Young Buchan) not.

There was in fact a good deal of discussion on the question of tunes, and not just because the embers were still glowing from last week's controversy over the similarity (or not) between the tunes of Fathom the Bowl and Polly Perkins/Cushie Butterfield. On this occasion it was Colin's singing of Jack Tar On Shore which led Mike to speculate on the similarities and differences between Colin's tune [could it have been something like this?] and Harry Cox's [version]. Colin also sang a Kipper parody of Bring Us In Good Ale, in which, like the good teetotaller he is [ho, ho], he substituted Hot Tea for the alcohol.

And whilst on the subject of variant tunes, Jo [not to be confused with Joe or Josci] produced a delightfully melodic variation of Botany Bay, which suited her style much better than the Raucous Version. She also went on to sing Cruel (Kate Rusby), which Richard misheard as Cool. And cool it was!

The need for Mike to return home early meant that we are again grateful to Richard for taking on the position of Chairman of the Bored [ouch]. He started the evening with The Hunt Is Up; but he also entered into the tune business when he sang The Constant Lovers and then challenged Derek to follow with Dom Behan's parody thereof, to the tune of Youghall Harbour; in view of the fact that whilst the original has the right number of syllables the parody certainly doesn't, the latter reluctantly declined.

Phil sang Brown's Ferry Blues containing the wonderful line 'One caught the other a-loving his cow'; I shall refrain from speculating on whether that verse took its origin from an area of Britain. He also sang what I assume was an American version of the song well known to British gypsy singers as Twenty One Years on Dartmoor.

Last week having produced The Grimsby Fishing Boat Disaster (aka Three Score and Ten), it was entirely appropriate that this week we should have John Conolly's Here's to the Grimsby Lads, on this occasion sung by Terry, who followed up with the Aspeys' [Gary and Vera] Mill Girl's Lullaby.

Next week is Good Friday. The club will meet as usual – which puts me in mind of the line of T.S.Eliot: In spite of that, we call this Friday 'Good'!

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

(Number of people present - 10, of which 8 performed)

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