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, 19 December 2016

Happy Christmas and into the New Year

Photo by open-arms
For various reasons it's unlikely that the report on last week's session (16 December) will be published before Christmas so I wanted to make an interim announcement to restate some important notices and announce formally for the first time one very important one.

  • Friday 23 December 2016 - there will be no session
  • Friday 30 December 2016 - there will be no session
  • Friday 6 January 2017 - will be the first session of the New Year and will herald a change of venue!!!

Our new venue for 2017 will in fact be an old friend. Between 1995 and 2014 we met at The Bridge Inn, Shortwood, Bristol BS16 9NG and that is where we will return from 6 January 2017. The room provides excellent acoustics. The pub's car park is small but it is also possible to park along Bridge Road, which is the dead end road passing in front of the pub.

If you haven't been to The Bridge before and you will be arriving along the Bristol ring road (A4174) you will need to leave the dual carriageway onto the B4465 for Pucklechurch. Carry on up the hill for about 0.6 mile and take the first right onto Shortwood Hill, signposted "Shortwood". Continue down the hill for about 0.6 mile and take the first left, just before the bridge back over the ring road, into Bridge Road. The Bridge Inn is immediately on your left. Approaches from Mangotsfield and Pucklechurch are probably more obvious but let us know if you foresee any difficulties. There is a map below which may also help.

Finally, I would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year from everyone at The Dragon Folk Club. We hope to see you at a session soon whether you sing, play an instrument, tell a story or simply come along to enjoy the fun. Any type of music is always accepted as long as it's acoustic (i.e. unplugged).

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Photo: Nick Webb
Our Christmas session didn't get off to a good start. When I arrived we were based on the cold, dark patio and definitely not singing. One person had already given up and gone home and Colin was threatening not to have a session the next week (this week, 16 December).

The reason for this turmoil was that a wake was taking place in our usual bar and a children's party in the main bar. Eventually the wake finished and we were allowed in. We actually got started before 9 o'clock and despite competing with the children's disco for the first few songs things soon quietened down, so despite possible rumours, there will be a session this Friday at The New Inn. Remember though that we will not meet on 23 and 30 December, so the next Dragon Folk Club session after 16/12 will be on 6 January. More details of that will come out later this week, so please be sure to be at this week's session, or failing that read the blog or any announcements that may appear on our Facebook page in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Scottish left-overs?

Parish notices first. After a week at old venue of The Bridge, we are back at The New Inn, Westerleigh this week (9 December) for a low-key Christmas session. Songs might be Christmas, bah humbug, or anywhere in between. There may even be some seasonal nibbles but I won't promise anything at this stage.

Next week (16 December) there should also be a session at The New Inn - see next week's blog report for more details. However there will be no sessions on 23 or 30 December. The first session of 2017 will be on 6 January but you'll have to wait for more details of that one as well. Sorry to be mysterious but there really is some uncertainty around at the moment, so please bear with me.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A Kist o’Tales

Heckmondwike English Concertina Premier Prize Band 1909
Before we deal with this week’s events I need to convey two important messages, one relating to the previous meeting, and one to the next.

Firstly it would appear that last week the Regular Scribe (whose humble servant addresses you herewith) should have attributed the Last Shanty sung by Mike to Tom Lewis, and not to any other individual who (according to one of this week’s stories, of which more shortly) might have a small copyright hang-up.

[RS: In my defence, I was not present for the singing of the said song, and it appears I may have misunderstood the message given to me by Colin about the song Mike sang last week]

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Jack Elliot, morris and other matters

Jack Elliot of Birtley
We seem to be notching up an extra person each week at the moment, which is a good thing but it was from a very low base three weeks ago, so let's hope there is a jump in numbers soon. If you can't make it any other time in the near future, perhaps you will come along on 2 December, when we are not at our usual venue of The New Inn; we will be at our previous home of The Bridge, Shortwood (BS16 9NG).

Colin was MC and I was a little late, having been caught up in the closure of the ring road, so I am indebted to him for filling me in on the first two songs.

Derek started off the evening with The Oakley Strike Evictions (Tommy Armstrong). I think this may have been the start of Derek's self-imposed theme for the evening: songs connected with Jack Elliot of Birtley.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Remembrance 2016

Thumper and Vera - the two currently flying  Avro Lancasters
(Photo Simon Meeds)
It was small but perfectly formed turn-out for our Remembrance session last Friday. There was a vast array of on-topic songs sung and a few more besides.

But first, I make no apology for repeating an important club notice... On Friday 2 December, the Dragon Folk Club will not be at its usual venue of The New Inn, but rather at its previous venue, The Bridge, Shortwood, BS16 9NG where we will once again enjoy the excellent acoustics of our old room. If you come to the New Inn that night, you will find yourself in the middle of a private party. please help pass this message around our regulars and anyone else who may be considering a visit to the Dragon Folk Club on that evening.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Bonfire Night 2016

'Nobody loves me. I'm going into the garden to eat worms.
Yesterday I ate two smooth ones and one woolly one.'
Before proceeding with the report of last week's session I will get the parish notices out of the way.

This week's session is on 11 November, so it is obviously going to be our Remembrance event. Whetehr you want to sing of war, anti-war, banning bombs, remembrance, poppies (red or white), or anything even vaguely related, this is the week to do it.

A slightly early notice to make sure as many people as possible are aware of it. We will not be at our usual venue of The New Inn on 2 December. Instead we will be at our previous venue, The Bridge, Shortwood. Those of you who have been coming to The Dragon Folk Club for a while will know that we can expect some good acoustics in the stone-walled room at the side of the pub.

So, back to last week. The theme was Bonfire Night and Campfire Songs. With Colin as MC, Derek started us off with the Nottinghamshire / Derbyshire version of a Guy Fawkes night rhyme: "All the little angels are dressed in white".

Monday, 31 October 2016

New Inn and the Deathly Halloweens

The imminence of All Hallows Eve resulted in the welcome appearance of Maggie S with her ancient trusty pumpkin-head (NOT a reference to Mike). It also resulted in a full assortment of songs dealing with Ghoulies, Ghosties and Things that go Bump in the Night (Long Leggedy Beasties were separately represented by Freddie and Indy – sorry Gert!)

This assortment included The Wee Wee Man (Richard - Roud 2865, Child 38), Lowlands (Mike - Roud 681), Binnorie (Leslie - Roud 8, Child 10), Ballad of the 13th Lock (Derek) – believed by the Deputy Scribe, who is composing these lines, to be by James Healy [Ed: The song is in James N Healy's book "The second book of Irish ballads" but I'm not sure that means he wrote it] – and Jim Parker & Muriel Holland’s Dancers of Stanton Drew (Colin).

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Aberfan 50

Rescuers working at the site of the Aberfan disaster
Last week's session had no official theme but one major theme emerged. It was the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster when a colliery spoil tip collapsed, killing 116 children and 28 adults. This inspired many of the songs though some other minor themes also emerged.

Colin was MC and Derek started the Aberfan theme with a song which wasn't written about that disaster but had an appropriate feel: Number Two Top Seam (Roger Watson).

Mike sang a version of Max Boyce's Duw It's Hard with a verse about Aberfan. Geoff sang New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb), ostensibly about a fictional American disaster which, although Geoff didn't realise it when he sung the song, was actually inspired by the Aberfan disaster.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Bob Dylan's Prize

Bob Dylan, pictured just down
the road from us at Aust ferry in 1966
For last week's session we ended up in the public bar again, displaced by a private party but our numbers, at 11 were pretty reasonable and swelled by a newcomer, who I believe said his name was Steve. He didn't sing but indicated that he could be prepared to perform on another visit. We look forward to it.

Colin was MC and there was no set theme though some people chose to mark Bob Dylan being honoured by the Nobel Committee as its literary laureate. I note that the latest reports as I write this indicate that Bob hasn't responded to repeated attempts to contact him and that they have now given up. We shall see whether he turns up to receive his award.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

When is a Croppy Boy not a Croppy Boy?

Charlotte Schreiber's painting
The Croppy Boy (The Confession of an Irish Patriot)
Colin was back in action as MC at last week's session. There was no theme but several people performed their leftovers from harvest.

Derek started off the session with The Croppy Boy (Carroll Malone) which was straightforward enough it seemed, except Mike, returning from a walk with his dog Indy challenged Derek about the version. Derek said it was what came of sitting in an Irish club for a long time, to which Mike said in Irish clubs around Bristol they sing a version which they know as McCafferty. Derek looked a little put out and I assumed he was thinking that Mike meant McCaffery, a song which Derek also sings. Anyway that was that until, on the second round Derek challenged Colin and me with the open question of what we would call his next song. With some deft Googling I had the answer, and shared it with Colin for the club's official record... and the song was... The Croppy Boy (Roud 1030, Laws J14).

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Floreant tirones

Boston, Lincolnshire (Photo by Simon Meeds)
It was great to see three first time visitors at last week's session. Hilary, who made contact via the Dragon Facebook page was visiting Anne so they both came to see us. Both enjoyed the evening and I hope we will see them again when Hilary is next in the area. John came with Dragon regular, Phil and while he was uncertain about singing gave us one song and said he would try to prepare some more before he comes again.

In the absence of Colin, Simon was MC and Derek kicked off the session with Another Man's Wedding (Roud 567, Laws P31).

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Harvest 2016

(Photo by Joinash)
Last week's Harvest session was a little disappointing, not just because we had a respectable rather than great turn-out but also because we were usurped from our usual bar by a private party on what was supposed to be a special night for us. We can't blame the pub for booking the bar out to an event that brings in more money than our folk club but it would be nice to have some advance warning which I don't believe we had on this occasion.

We ended up in the main bar, which was OK but the ambient noise level, not to mention the TV showing sport isn't really conducive to what we are trying to do. Don't worry, it's not always like that and I'm sure it will be fine this Friday.

It was great to see that people had brought along a fine array of produce both for the half-time buffet and the raffle.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A right good do

Photo by Tim Green
A good turn out last week with returns for John and Geoff and an appearance from Steve G after his visit to Burleigh Horse Trials.

Colin was MC and Derek started off the session. Given that this week will be the Harvest session, both Derek and Mike were using up a few songs a week early relating to other timely events. Derek's first contribution was The Gresford Disaster (Roud 3089) which took place on 22 September 1934.

Mike added The Heights of Alma to mark the Battle of Alma (20 September 1854). Derek's next was Kevin Barry, marking 20 September 1920 when the titular Irish republican was involved in an ambush by IRA volunteers on a British army truck, an action which led to his execution in November that year.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Whilst the Rest of Us are Back at Work…

The Monument was erected by
Sir Christopher Wren, to commemorate
the fire of London
Your regular scribe was still on holiday this week, thereby allowing Mike to appropriate Spanish Ladies (Roud 687), albeit in a non-Newfoundlandic format, and subjecting you all once again to the rantings of the Substitute Scribe.

In fact, my last week’s RANT (Railing Against Nonat Tenders) proved to have had an effect, having been read by John, who had attended many sessions at the Bridge in ye olde dayes, and came to sample the new venue.

Our number of performers was also swollen by two newcomers: Geoff, who performed a wide range of predominantly Irish songs, and Zenara who brought with her not only a fine unaccompanied singing voice, but also that scarcest of all folk club assets – an Audience!

When Derek opened with False Lover Won Back (Roud 201, Child 218) one would probably have given reasonable odds that it might turn out to be the longest song of the night. But next to Courting in the Kitchen (Geoff - Laws Q16) and Bruce Campbell’s The Roman Gladiator (Mike) it soon paled into insignificance.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Use it or lose it!

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral (photo Ruaraidh Gillies)
The usual scribe, as known in advance, was away vacationizing, but regrettably far more seats than his were left empty. The club has been surviving in recent weeks on the strength of holiday-making visitors. This week that supply dried up, and may well remain dry till next summer. If the club is to remain viable we need more regulars.

Where else in Bristol on a Friday night can you be treated for free to:

John Conolly’s pastiche of The Roast Beef of Old England depicting Grumpy Old Men (Richard);

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Tinkers, Bosses and Black Cloth

The Koh-i-Noor diamond before it was re-cut in 1852
It was another great session last week with visitors and irregulars joining us for the evening. Before I go any further I must remember to say, there will be no Dragon Folk Club this Friday (26 August 2016) but we will be back on the following Friday (2 September 2016), so I hope you can come and join in the fun.

Our recent stream of visitors or hopefully first-timers continued with Rod who sang some fine traditional songs. Steve G made his first appearance for a little while, and was later joined by Jo and her husband, Mel. Mel told me they only planned to stay for an hour but enjoyed it so much they stayed for the rest of the evening. We were also joined by Henry, who hasn't been to a Dragon session for quite some time, and he was joined by first-timer Mary.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Manchester or Essex?

Manchester Town Hall
We've been doing really well for visitors recently and last week wasn't an exception being joined by Linda and Dave, who live in Essex but are originally from Manchester and these two locations were taken by some people as a theme for the evening. They visit the area quite frequently so we hope to see them again. Dave, who sings in a barbershop choir as well as at folk clubs, sang us some songs. Linda on the other hand saved herself for a return visit, choosing instead to just weigh us up on this occasion - I don't blame her.

Colin, back from his recent trip, was MC and Derek started off the session with Jamie Douglas (Roud 87, Child 204). He almost gave up singing this song, realising it isn't too long since we had it from him but when Chris said how much she liked it he relented and carried on.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Follow the caravan to Rio

Last weeks session was again well attended and this time everyone was a performer.

We were pleased to welcome newcomers Chris and John, on a weekend away from their West Midlands home with their caravan. Rose and Jonjo also returned this week.

In Colin's absence, Richard had the MCs book for the evening and he put himself on first with The Constant Lovers (Roud 993, Laws O41).

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Groundhog Day?

Photo by Gary Yankech
I was pleased to see some people at The New Inn last week who seemed to have turned up intentionally for the session even though they had no intention of performing. Don't get me wrong, it would have been great if they had been prepared to perform but the fact they were there and said they had enjoyed themselves was excellent.

Colin was MC and Derek, who was first to sing, immediately set a challenge for me, the scribe. He started what because a theme - singing songs which were sung the previous week but in different versions.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Crowd Dispersal

Last week's session was again well attended with a welcome return for Rose, who also brought along a newcomer to the club, Jonjo.

Colin was MC and Derek started the evening off with Red Roses For Me (Sean O'Casey). Mike followed this with Wave Over Wave (Jim Payne, Janis Spence).

Tony brought us one of his Welsh tunes which this time was Tafarn Y Wheatsheaf (The Wheatsheaf Pub) and Hilary followed that with Try To Remember (Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt).

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Louder than usual

The knocker-upper man
Last weeks session was slightly unusual for us in that our venue at The New Inn was somewhat taken over by people who would usually be at The Old Inn (the pubs have really original names in Westerleigh) which was closed for refurbishment. While they were fairly loud at times they were at least reasonably appreciative of our efforts in the main and in any case they had dwindled to a memory by the break.

Colin was naturally Mc and for a change kicked off the singing himself with General Guinness, which seems as good a place as any to start even if he wasn't actually drinking the black stuff.

I think there was some skulduggery going on, maybe trying to test the resolve of the non-folkies in the bar when Derek sang Molly Bawn (Roud 166, Laws O36) and Mike sang Haul On The Bowline (Roud 652).

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Spinning a yarn

(Photo by Hans Splinter)
Last week's session saw the return of Richard and Lesley after their travels and a rare, in recent times, appearance of Gary, who I believe has been busy travelling and performing at festivals over the last few months.

Colin also returned from his break and fell back into his usual role of MC. Derek was the first to sing with Lord Bateman (Roud 40, Child 53). It proved unusually problematic for him since he started off with his usual tune but it morphed half-way into another, equally valid tune for the song.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

July on the Somme

Battle of the Somme 1916 - Prelude (Photo by Norman Date)
Last week's session saw novice MC, Simon attempting and not always succeeding to maintain control of the evening but we got there in the end and a total of 31 songs and tunes isn't too bad a tally. Normal service should be resumed this week.

Simon asked Derek to start which he did by saying that he has few July songs but offering Three Flowers, his version starting "As I was walking down the street one evening in July".

Another theme which emerged was the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 2016. Mike was first to contribute on this theme with Hanging On The Old Barbed Wire (Roud 9618).

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Leaves of Summer

[Having been absent myself from last week's session, this report has been ably written by the deputy scribe for which I am very thankful. It has been a week of turmoil and strong discussions across the country. When I write these reports I try to keep them balanced or at least an objective report of the events of the evening. I hope you will agree that Mr Deputy Scribe has also achieved this. This should be taken against a background that by the nature of folk music individuals will sing songs including strongly worded views with which they may or may not agree themselves, and with which the assembled crowd may or may not agree. The Dragon Folk Club however seeks to be an inclusive venue for any acoustic music. We can be very non PC in what we sing or recite, either because of strongly held personal views or, at least as often, simply because much of our material is historical in nature and some of our members are reasonably keen to maintain authenticity - we will not apologise for this. Do not however be put off; we try and I hope succeed to be very welcoming and to accept anyone who comes along to our sessions for themselves. So now I hand over to the deputy scribe for his report.]

This week's session was marked by the absence of the regular Scribe, which meant that not only do you have to suffer my account of the proceedings, but many of us were forced to make up wholly imaginary cricket scores to get us through the evening.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

DFC welcomes newcomers

Cooper and Toller (Vicky and Richard)
Thank you to all who attended last week's session, especially to Richard T and Vicky (Cooper and Toller) who paid their first visit to the club. Sorry that by the one song per person per round rule, we dragged you through most of your repertoire! We hope to see you again, and maybe by having more people at a future session we can be a little more lenient.

With Colin MCing, Derek opened the evening, referring to the recent death of Chris Roach of the Pill Whalers he sang the first song he heard Chris sing. Apparently Chris looked worried as he noticed Derek singing along loudly with the first line but was fine after the second when he realised they were singing the same, less well known version of the song. That song was Bill Westaway's version of Widecombe Fair. Derek challenged me to find a recording of Bill Westaway singing it, and since the Topic recordings on YouTube have been blocked in the UK (not removed as I first thought), I drew a blank there but lo, Smithsonian Folkways comes to the rescue.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

More June Fun

Tommy Banner and Pete Budd of The Wurzels
performing at the 2011 Wychwood Festival
I arrived slightly late to the session last week and I initially thought that there were only five of us there but in fact Lesley was just outside walking Mike's dog, Indy. So, we were six, which is a workable number for a session but it would have been nice to have had at least a couple more.

Being late I missed Derek's first song which was in honour of Dave Swarbrick who died on 3 June. The song was The Cuckoo's Nest (Roud 1506 , 5407), which naturally Derek sang but Dave had played on the violin. I think this was also the start of talk about bawdy songs.

Mike's first contribution was Blow The Man Down (Roud 2624). Having left early the previous week, Richard probably didn't realise that Derek finished the session with the June-themed The Jug Of Punch (Roud 1808). Not that it really mattered and anyway Richard's was a slightly different version.

Lesley sang Spanish Lady which gave me an opportunity to correct Wikipedia while writing this report. The online encyclopaedia showed the song as Roud 543 when it should have been 542 (incidentally, there is no Roud 543).

Simon had been practicing Alan Bell's Windmills. He still struggled to get started but finally found his stride.

Colin gave us a curve ball with He's Dead But He Won't Lie Down (Will E Haines, Maurice Beresford, Jimmy Harper) which was made famous by Gracie Fields. In fact Colin must have been in a funny mood since he also sang Gather In The Mushrooms from Benny Hill, and Combine Harvester, marking the fortieth anniversary of The Wurzels' appearance in the UK charts (they go to number 1) with the song. I didn't realise until researching this report that Combine Harvester, of course based on Melanie's (Melanie Safka) hit Brand New Key, was written by and was a hit in Ireland (also a number 1) for Brendan Grace. Colin even returned to The Wurzels near the end of the evening with Adge Cutler's Chitterling - a celebration of a West Country delicacy that Colin doesn't even like!

Although we were a small band we were lucky that only Mike gave up and went home before the end, so the circles we followed round were not so much ever decreasing ones as they have been on some recent occasions.

Colin asked Simon to finish up the evening which he did recalling a question on that day's Radio 4 News Quiz about delays in opening a new airport on the island of St Helena. Simon's song was Boney Was A Warrior.

There is no official theme again next week, so let's see if we can get some more bums on seats to sing, play and join in. We really don't bite and you might even enjoy it.

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

(Number of people present - 6, of whom 6 performed)

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Colourful June

Statue of Jack Crawford in
Mowbray Park, Sunderland
It was great that Tony and Hillary, the previous week's newcomers, hadn't been frightened away and came back again. They even said they'd enjoyed it, which according to some is actually against the principles of a folk club, but let's not worry about that.

MC, Colin asked Derek to start the evening and he headed straight into a June theme with The Three O'Donnells.

Mike's first song of the evening was Let Union Be In All Our Hearts (Roud 17141).

The now familiar pattern of Hillary singing a song accompanied by Tony and Tony playing a tune accompanied by Hillary held fast for the evening with Hillary's first contribution being I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash, Roy Cash Jr) and Tony's a set made up of Lady In The Boat and Rakes Of Kildare.

Colin picked up where he'd left off last week, sticking up for workers' rights with Woody Guthrie's Union Maid. Simon stayed on familiar territory, singing Laird Of The Dainty Dounby and only nearly choked on the third verse.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Linguistic acrobatics

Photo by Vigneshkumar Chinnachamy
A better turn-out this week, at least at the beginning of the evening with Richard and Lesley returning from their travels and a big welcome to first-timers, Tony and Hillary, who moved in fairly nearby a few months ago. I hope they enjoyed the evening and decide to make it a regular occurrence.

Colin was MC and Derek, keeping to his May theme of the last few weeks, started off the session with Johnny O'Breadislee (Roud 69, Child 114).

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

When might March follow May?

It was a small throng that met up last week at The New Inn but we are grateful to everyone who made it, especially to Roger, who was unusually Chris-less since she had been singing her heart out the night before and presumably needed to give her voice a rest.

Our numbers were reduced even further at the break and as we started going round in ever decreasing circles we put the night out of its misery slightly earlier than usual but a good variety of songs were nevertheless sung.

Derek started us off in a very seasonal way with Whitsun Dance (Austin John Marshall). Quite a number of May songs were still coming out of the woodwork, starting with Mike's singing of Claudy Banks (Roud 266, Laws N40).

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

More May

At last week's Dragon Folk Club session there were actually nine people and three dogs but I have counted two other people who stood at the bar for a few songs and didn't heckle, which is a bonus, thus bringing the human total to eleven, which isn't a bad showing.

Colin arrived slightly late to take up his role of MC, and it transpired he had forgotten his notes, so he was flying unaided for the evening. He asked Mike to start off and when Mike complained that he hadn't been first to arrive, Colin put him in his place... he's learning this MCing lark, at least giving back to Mike some of what he had received in previous years.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

May Songs 2016

Photo by Eric Adamshick
Slightly thinner on the ground last week but a fun evening nonetheless. There was no official theme but I had hinted at May being an appropriate path to tread, and some of us trod it more or less closely.

Colin was MC and Derek kicked us off with Constantine a song from the Cornish village of that name which 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 (this is a recording of the Helston version).

Mike was thinking of singing his Bristol version of Outward and Homeward but couldn't get it to start, so he made do with Wild Mountain Thyme (Roud 541), returning Homeward on our next rotation. Maybe it was this that suggested to Derek Sprig of Thyme (Roud 3) for a later turn or maybe just because it was appropriate to May.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

I was a good turnout with fourteen people and three dogs at last week's session. We had two Maggies for the first time in a while, and Paul was joined by former colleague, Jan and her husband. Canine presence was provided by regular Indy with Gertie and Freddie.

The official theme was St George (dragons, England, etc.) and that was complemented by William Shakespeare (400th death anniversary) and Derek even picked up on my suggestion of "disturbing songs", from a theme brought up by the BBC.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A cornucopia of song

Frederic Weatherly, the Englishman
who wrote Maggie's nemesis song, Danny Boy
Before I get started on this week's report I must remind you that due to a private party in our usual venue, there will be no Dragon folk club session this Friday (22 April). We will be back with a belated St Geoge's Day theme next week (29 April), when you may also wish to mark Wthe 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death.

Last week's Dragon session was surprisingly well attended given the absence of a couple of regular faces. It's always good to see Tom and Terry H in our midst, and Paul was a surprise visitor. Apparently he was all geared up to go to another club on the night but realised at the last minute it wasn't on, so he made the long journey from home to see us, at least for the first half.

Note that this is the semi-regular Paul and not Paul of Paul and Jenny last week. If they both turn up together I'm going to have to ask for surnames. Oh, the lot of the blog writer is a stressful one. ;-)

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Youthful songwriters and miners among others

Elizabeth Cotten who wrote
Freight Train at the age of 11
There was no theme this week so anything goes. We were very pleased to welcome Paul and Jenny, who we hadn't seen before. Apparently they came out for a quick drink and finding us singing away they not only stayed longer than planned, but Paul sang two of his own excellent quirky songs. We certainly hope they will come again.

This week (15 April) has no set theme again, so please come and sing anything you fancy, or maybe bring your own theme. Next week (22 April) there will be no session and the following week (29 April) will be our St George's Day session.

Colin was MC and Derek started proceedings with The Ploughboy (The Warwickshire RHA) (Roud 163); notably from the same root as The Scarlet And The Blue which Mike sang the previous week.

Richard reminded some of us of BBC Radio's Children's Choice (Derek McCulloch) with the vocal gymnastics of Leroy Van Dyke and Buddy Black's song, The Auctioneer.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

April Fools and Irish Rebels

Comedian, Ronnie Corbett
who died on 31 March 2016
Last week's session included some new blood which is always very pleasing. The advertised theme of April Fools turned out to be only half the story with several of our number turning to the centenary of the Easter Rising.

First a couple of announcements. There will be no session on Friday 22 April since "our" bar is being used for a private party. This gives us a dilemma since the 22nd would be the obvious day to have a St George's Day theme, so that particular event is moved to 29 April.

Martin and Christine were the first newcomers to arrive. Christine ably provided an audience for us, which Martin regaled us with some stories, more of which later. We were joined at the interval by another couple who I would guess weren't regular folk club attendees - nothing at all wrong with that. They didn't appear to respond during the evening apart from the young lady finding hilarity in some innuendo in one of Derek's songs. However, at the end of the evening she thanked us for the music which was nice of her and I expressed a hope that they would visit us again. Everyone is welcome at the Dragon Folk Club, whether to perform or just to listen.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

St Paddy Meets the Easter Bunny

Devastation caused by the Easter Rising.
Easter is a major holiday in Ireland,for a host of reasons,
some of which are religious and some historical.
Should readers, understandably distressed at finding that this week's blog has fallen into the hands of the Substitute Scribe, decide to leave precipitately, please at least pause to view this message – THERE IS NO CLUB MEETING ON FRIDAY 25TH MARCH (GOOD FRIDAY). This is due to the room's being used by the Inn for Easter festivities.

One result of the above was that this week's meeting became the optimal day for Easter songs as well as treading on the heels of St Patrick's Day. Most of those present confined themselves to the Irish aspect, although only DomBehan's Caesar's Conquest Of Ireland (Derek) actually recorded (albeit lesser known) events from the life of St Patrick himself!

Friday, 18 March 2016

No train wreck

This week's session (18 March 2016) will be our closest to St Patrick's Day, so you might like to bring along some Irish songs and tunes. Next week (25 March) will be Good Friday and there is an event at the pub, so we will not have a session but we will be back the following week for the 1 April. There's no official theme yet but I wonder whether some fooling around might be in order?

Last week, Colin was MC and Derek started us off with The Bailiff's Daughter Of Islington (Roud 483, Child 105). Mike got us all singing with Drink Old England Dry (Roud 882).

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

St David's Day and Mothering Sunday 2016

Yes we had a dual theme last week with St David's Day on 1st March and Mothering Sunday on the 6th (Don't get me started on why it isn't Mothers' Day). There was plenty for us all to go at, and Colin was MC.

Derek started us off with a song I failed to trace. The lines I noted down were: "On the 23rd day of September", "the Liverpool waters will ring" and "they destroyed the electric transformer". From something he said later, I assume, like two of his other songs this evening, it was written by Meic Stephens.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Yet another musical miscellany

The Mary Rose in a battle with seven Algerine corsairs
(an engraving by Wenceslas Hollar
who was on the ship at the time)
There was no theme for last week's session so we were free to come up with clusters of songs around various topics.

Colin was the MC and Mike kicked us off with the topical The Twenty Fourth of February (Roud 951) (sorry I couldn't find a recording in English), although he sang "twenty third". Apparently it describes a battle which took place on 29 December 1669 where Captain John Kempthorne on the fifth Mary Rose saved a convoy from attack by seven ships of Algerine pirates. He was knighted for this action.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Trains and mines

The Trimdon Grange rescue(photo by she_who_must - Flickr)
Last week's session had no official theme but that didn't last long. As has become usual, Colin was MC and he asked Derek to start us off.

Derek alluded to 16 February 1882, the date of the Trimdon Grange colliery disaster before singing the song about it, written by Tommy Armstrong: Trimdon Grange Explosion (Roud 3189). This led us straight into a theme of mining which Mike followed with Morley Main (Keith Marsden) about the 1872 disaster there.

Colin claimed a tenuous connection with The Fireman's Growl (FW Skerrett); at least a railway fireman worked with coal. This allowed Simon to follow on with The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore (Jean Ritchie) which deals with both railways and mines.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Valentine's Day - 2016

Newly weds take a trip on a traditional Maltese dgħajsa
Being the closest session to Valentine's Day, love and not a little lust was in the air, or at least in some of our songs. Derek introduced a second theme though of songs sung by Roy Harris, who had died the previous Tuesday. One or two seemed even to include both themes in a single song!

Colin as MC asked Derek to kick off the session. Derek said it was 40 years this year since he first met Roy Harris, and from his repertoire sang Poverty Knock (Roud 3491, probably written by Tom Daniel), accompanying himself on the bones. He apologised to Simon, who sometimes sings that song (Simon says that was unnecessary) but suggested that he might like to sing No Sir No (Roud 146), which he did when it came to his turn - thus hitting both themes.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Six Nations of song - 2016

George Kruis goes over for England's
first try against Scotland (Inpho)
Shock horror, it seems that the previous week's session wasn't the record breaker we claimed. According to Mike, the record for the number of songs sung in an evening at The Dragon Folk Club is 48, and last week we only managed 46. Oh well, we'll just have to try harder next time - where are all those single line songs that Mike and Derek seem so readily to bring out when you least expect it?

Colin, being MC, proposed a rugby theme since the following day would bring the first games of the Six Nations. This was followed by some with songs from all those nations being represented together with various song of more or less spurious connection with rugby.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

So you want to be a record breaker?

A good crowd gathered last week at The New Inn including two visitors. Ros and Jan, who have obviously known Maggie S for a long time offered us their lovely singing.

Colin was MC and suggested an Australian theme since Australia Day had been just a few days before; some people managed to follow this last minute theme. When the evening was over Colin claimed that we had broken the record for the number of songs sung during a Dragon Folk Club session, so I feel duty bound to catalogue those songs as far as possible.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Burns' Night 2016

Burns' Cottage (photo by Bethany Weeks)
Some of our number had made it to The New Inn hot-foot from the wake after Alan Mitchell's funeral. Richard, who had officiated at the funeral service even came bearing left-over food which we gannets descended on well, taking with us most of what was not eaten on the spot. This meant that Richard and Lesley would not be eating ham rolls for the next three weeks!

Being just three days before Burns' Night, the plan was to sing some Scottish songs. Unfortunately some present didn't seem to have their diaries quite in sync. Never mind, our themes are always optional.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Danger, men at work

Photo by James Butler
There was no official theme this week, so song subjects were a little all over the place. We initially gathered as nine but when Colin, who MCed, asked Steve G to sing, Steve said he had to leave immediately. It's OK, we hadn't upset him, but it did mean we were down to eight and Steve didn't get to sing this time.

Derek kicked off the evening with The Ballad Of William Bloat by Raymond Calvert and Mike responded with The Deserter/Ratcliff Highway (Roud 493).

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

New Year and matters arising

Wren (photo by Alden Chadwick)
It was a perfectly respectable turnout for the first session of 2016. We had been promised songs on themes to cover the whole period between Christmas and 8 January, which is pretty much what we got.

Colin was MC and he asked Derek to start us off. Derek said he had to start off in his traditional way with Miner's Dream of Home (Roud 1749) - "For the bells were ringing the old year out, And the new year in".