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.

Monday, 18 May 2015

A May Mix

William Shakespeare
No particular theme emerged this week though there was a sprinkling of May songs. Derek challenged us to decide whether his theme was May or incest since some of his songs fitted both possibilities. Numbers were bolstered by Jan, her husband and a couple of people who though obviously not there for the music at least were polite enough to applaud. Since we are keeping count of these things, for the record it was Roger who was the final straw that sent them on their way - the honours are certainly being spread around recently.

As MC for the evening, Colin asked Derek to start off the session, which he did with Lady Isabel (Child 261). Simon unintentionally found a tenuous link with Isobel Makes Love Upon National Monuments (Jake Thackray).

Phil's voice wasn't too good so he eased himself in with a spoken version of Carson Robison's Texas Dan. One of Jan's songs was something we are more accustomed to hearing from Derek: that is The Four Marys (Roud 79, Child 173).

Roger took the culture of the evening to a different level with George Frederic Handel's Where E'er You Walk, which he sang as a boy seventy years ago and never since. Being similarly refined, Chris presented a medley of songs from Shakespeare plays. I spotted Where The Bee Sucks, Hark Hark The Lark and Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind.

Derek tells us that the Cornish village of Constantine has a similar May tradition to its more famous neighbour, Helston. It is marked with a different version of Roud 1520 and the celebration is held one week later though on this occasion Derek's singing of Heel And Toe which he calls "Constantine" was yet another week later (this is a recording of the Helston version).

I'll devote most of the rest of this report to unusual recordings or ones I had to look for a little further afield than YouTube. First is Pick A Bale Of Cotton which Phil sang, this being rare film of Leadbelly singing. I wasn't expecting to find this version of Incy Wincy Spider (Bob Blue, Tom Smith) which Colin sang to the tune of Stan Rogers' Mary Ellen Carter. Jan sang her own song After The Storm and Simon sang Elizabeth Padgett's Plover Catcher. If Simon's version seems rather different from Elizabeth's, bear in mind that he has been singing it for a number of years based only on her chords and having only recently heard her sing it - surely that's the folk process at work!

Phil's last song was Dead Or Alive which he had heard attributed to Woody Guthrie but he had never heard it sung by his hero - So YouTube comes up trumps again!

Simon finished off the evening with The Rout Of The Blues (Roud 21098).

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

(Number of people present - 12, of which 8 performed)

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