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, 19 August 2015

Do you feel like a challenge?

The landing place at Rockstone from which the start
to the gold fields at the Essequibo River is made
We were a small but pretty enthusiastic band last week. Early conversations ranged through subjects relating to funerals and crematoria. This isn't perhaps as unusual as you would think, given that Mike works at the crematorium close to our venue and Richard also frequently finds himself at such premises in a professional capacity.

Our resident canine, Indy, was in fine voice and his timing does seem to be improving. During the singing of at least three songs I noticed him coming in perfectly on cue: variously as a wailing ghost, a howling dog and a baying wolf when the lyric required it.

Richard was the MC and he asked Derek to kick off the evening.

Having been absent two weeks before at our themed session "One Song To The Tune Of Another", Derek had some unfinished business, so he started us off with Essequibo River to the tune of a (very slow) version of She Moves Through The Fair. As he worked his way slowly through verses designed to indicate it was going to be a very long version we looked at our watches and were pleased when he cut it short. Derek returned to the previous theme later in the evening with She Was Poor But She Was Honest to the tune of The Verdant Braes Of Skreen.

It seemed to be an evening of challenges. Richard challenged himself with The Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle (Laws H29), saying that the tune, particularly the last line of each verse seemed to be unsingable.

Lesley's challenge was Si Tu Dois Partir. The song is on the face of it a translation into French of Bob Dylan's If You Gotta Go, Go Now. Lesley knows it from the version by Fairport Convention. The story goes that Fairport Convention was playing a gig at the Middle Earth and thought it would be amusing to do Dylan's song in French cajun style, so the band called for volunteers from the audience to help with the translation. Richard Thompson: “About three people turned up, so it was really written by committee, and consequently ended up not very cajun, French or Dylan.” Lesley realised that the translation wasn't the best, and so had previously recruited Simon to do some research. He found a version by French rock icon, Johnny Hallyday. Somehow Lesley managed to create a melange of all these influences to come up with her own version.

At the aforementioned "One Song To The Tune Of Another" session, Simon sang Lady Franklin's Lament (Roud 487, Laws K9) to the tune of The Handweaver And The Factory Maid. On that evening and once since, he had stated that he couldn't sing the song to its proper tune. However, taking that as a challenge to himself, he had prepared that very thing and gave it a go.

Maggie's challenge was to sing at all. It's not that Maggie can't sing, but that she very rarely sings at her own session. She made a valiant attempt to start Bold General Wolfe (Roud 961, 624, Laws A1) but fell at the first and quickly gave up. In fact her attempt was so brief I can't even be sure that the song I've linked was what she wanted to sing, because I believe there are at least two with that title, and at least one more with a similar title.

Mike's challenge for the evening was to sing Shanty Man. Initially the challenge was finding the tune and once that was achieved all went well. When asked though he couldn't remember who wrote the song; Simon came to the rescue naming the author as Bob Watson (partly from memory and partly with help from his trusty iPhone).

When Simon came to sing Geordie (Roud 90, Child 209) it was immediately clear that something, apart from lack of recent practice, was wrong. All became clear when he declared his realisation that it was usually performed with a capo on the third fret of his guitar but he continued, singing "in his boots", to the bitter end.

Despite sending out an invitation to all and sundry on Twitter just before half time, no more punters were forthcoming, so we finished the session slightly early with Richard singing Les Barker's The Nose Of Alan Dale (parody of The Rose Of Allendale).

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

(Number of people present - 6, of which 6 performed though one only very briefly)

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