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, 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.

Colin was MC and Derek started us off on the Easter Rising theme with James Larkin (Donagh MacDonagh). Larkin was an Irish trade union leader and socialist activist perhaps best known for his role in the 1913 Dublin Lockout, "Big Jim" continues to occupy a significant place in Dublin's collective memory.

Mike sang Fare Thee Well Enniskillen (Trad / Tommy Makem), explaining that the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons refused to take part in combatting the rising, apparently becoming the only unit in British army history ever to refuse to take part in a conflict.

Richard managed to straddle the two themes singing the Irish children's song Patrick Was A Gentleman (Henry Bennett), claiming it "was not a word of a lie". Colin was another on the Irish trail with The Foggy Dew (Canon Charles O’Neill) which seemed to eb a song that everyone had so far avoided on the basis that someone else was probably waiting to sing it - well done to Colin be being the brave one without fear of stepping on any toes.

Simon went directly for the April Fools theme and his first two songs both included the word "fool" somewhere in the lyric: Martin Said To His Man (Thomas Ravenscroft's Deuteromelia #16 [1609]) and Buttercup Joe (Roud 1635).

Roger got out his harmonica several times during the evenign and twice to give us solos of Shenandoah (Roud 324) and Goodnight Ladies (Edwin Pearce Christy).

First timer Martin gave us stories: one about a pickpocket's son (which I believe we may have heard from our regular storyteller, Jane), another about a young man meeting St Peter at the pearly gates, and one about a school caretaker. His final contribution was a riddle but I won't relate it lest I spoil it for you if you hear it in the future.

Mike shifted from Ireland to a bit of tom-foolery for his second song: The Derby Ram (Roud 126).

Richard, carrying on in the frivolous mood, but also marking the recent death of Ronnie Corbett, sang the Two Ronnies' Bold Sir John. Lesley, eschewing the themes and leaving with husband Richard at half time to be ready for an earliy start the following morning, gave us a lovely rendition of Reynardine (Roud 397, Laws P15).

Phil treated us as usual to a mix of cowboys and railroad engineers but among them was one piece of historical education: Charles Guiteau. Guiteau was an American writer and lawyer who was convicted of the assassination of James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States. Guiteau was offended by Garfield's rejections of his various job applications, and so shot Garfield at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. on 2 July, 1881. Garfield died two months later from infections related to the injury. Guiteau was hanged for the crime.

I always like to link to Tom's own recordings when he sings and he gave me the chance this time with Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma, Johnny Mercer) and Standing At The Door (Allan Taylor)

Returning to an Irish theme if not directly related to the Easter Rising, Chris included among her offerings the lovely Lark In The Clear Air (Sir Samuel Ferguson).

East Anglia-man Derek finished the evening off with a version of Blow The Man Down (Roud 2624) which places the story in Yarmouth (presumably Great Yarmouth). I couldn't find a recording of that precise version but the one I have linked is by the Sheringham Shantymen (from Sheringham in Norfolk), so I hope that will do.

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

(Number of people present - 14, of whom 11 performed)

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