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 May 2015

May Day 2015

Our latest session was actually on May Day, so songs of May, summer and red flags were well in evidence. Colin was MC for the evening and asked Mike to start off, which he did with Hal An Tow (Roud 1520); a song from the Helston Flora Day tradition.

Derek continued with Giles Collins (Roud 147, Child 85 - "Giles Collins walked out on a may morning..."). In fact most singers this week managed to follow the theme to some extent.

Here are some of the more obvious followers:

[1] - Jim Connell was inspired to write a socialist anthem after attending a lecture at a meeting of the Social Democratic Federation during the London Dock Strike of 1889. He set down the words while on a train journey from Charing Cross railway station to his home in Honor Oak, South London. It is generally accepted that he gained inspiration as he watched the train guard raise and lower the red signal flag on the platform. The Red Flag is usually sung to the tune of "Lauriger Horatius" (better known as the German-language carol "O Tannenbaum") though Connell had wanted it sung to "The White Cockade", an old Scottish Jacobite song and that is the tune sung by Derek at this session.

[2] - Phil asked Simon whether the song Buttercup Joe referred to the family of a local farmer called Johnson. Simon thought not and said he got the words from the Yetties' album Dorset is Beautiful which referred to Wareham in Dorset, but that earlier versions seemed to always refer to Fareham in Hampshire. Mike said that it was in fact a Dorset song (I haven't been able to verify that). Derek and Simon agreed that the trend to use Fareham as the location was probably because that is what was sung by Albert Richardson, whose recording popularised the song. Going back to Phil's original question, this singer calls the owner of the dairy "Sir Johnson" rather than "farmer Jones".

Simon finished off the evening with a trip round the seasons in the form of When All Men Sing (Keith Scowcroft, Derek Gifford).

While no theme has been officially announced for this week, it has been brought to my attention that Friday is the 70th anniversary of VE Day, so maybe some Second World War songs are in order?

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

(Number of people present - 10, of which 9 performed)

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