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.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Life's a long song

Lady Astor, probably unfairly maligned
in the song, D-Day Dodgers
Despite the title of this report the session last week had nothing to do with Jethro Tull as far as I know nor was there a theme really but we were so thin on the ground that the suggestion was that we should sing our longer songs so that it didn't come round too often. Whether or not we succeeded you can judge for yourself.

Colin was MC for the evening and Derek kicked of proceedings with The Pride Of Springfield Road. Mike's first song was one he'd held back from the VE Day 70 session, though Simon had sung it on that occasion. Now was the right time though being the nearest session to the anniversary of the Normandy landings for D-Day Dodgers (Roud 10499, Lance-Sergeant Harry Pynn).

I said we numbered only four but in fact there were a number of ladies in the bar at the start of the evening. I say "a number" because I hadn't had time to confirm whether there were three or four of them before this first song of Mike's saw them dash to the safety of the other bar. Honours for the clearance are certainly being spread around. Please don't misunderstand, if you come along to a session at The New Inn you will be very welcome to stick around for the whole evening. It is fun to note who is singing when people leave us, but it would be even more fun if they stayed and enjoyed our company.

Colin's first was The Tythe Pig (Roud 574) for which Derek helpfully suggested a different tune to try another time.

Just before coming out to the session, Derek had checked out Mudcat and found that Flora MacNeil had recently died. In fact, if asked beforehand, Derek would have assumed her older than her 86 years. He sang two songs from Flora's repertoire. The first was Beinn A' Cheathaich, a Gaelic version of Kishmul's Galley. The second was Ailein Duinn. Derek asked me not to link from here to the version from the film Rob Roy nor anything similar. It turned out that the version in Rob Roy is by Capercaillie, a band of which I am a bit of a fan. Nevertheless I understand where he's coming from. It was quite a task though to find a version not based on theirs since there seem to be a lot of them but eventually I found this version by Joan Mackenzie which I hope meets with approval.

Colin's rendition of Rakes Of Mallow was greeted with comments that it needed to be faster. Colin did a credible job of speeding it up but Derek pointed our that you can sing faster than you can read. To make a point he sang Finnegan's Wake at breakneck speed, albeit with some stumbles due to lack of rehearsal. It took me a while to find a recording which gave some sort of impression of Derek's version but I still think he would finish a few lengths clear!

There was a splash of Steeleye Span as Simon sang Boys Of Bedlam (music by Nic Jones and Dave Moran) quickly followed by Colin singing the band's version of Gamble Gold (Roud 333, Child 132), being unable to find the longer version among his papers.

Mike made his exit at the interval but not before singing his own, Bristol-based version of Outward Bound. After the interval we were therefore down to a barely quorate three head of folkies.

Derek was inspired by a story Simon told in the interval to sing Lord Thomas And Fair Eleanor (Roud 4, Child 73) - don't ask! I don't know what brought on Derek's last song but The Wee Wee Song was certainly amusing.

After Bristol Rovers' success the previous weekend at Wembley, Colin had intended to dust off a song he wrote for a previous visit by his team to what we might once have called "the twin towers". Unfortunately he had been unable to find his lyrics so he sang the song on which it was based: Day Trip To Bangor (Debbie Cook).

Colin asked Simon to finish off the session slightly early, which he did with When All Men Sing (Keith Scowcroft, Derek Gifford).

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

(Number of people present - 4, of which 4 performed)

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