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.

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.

Lesley invited us to sing along, as long as it was to her version of All Around My Hat (Roud 22518), which as far I could tell was Steeleye Span's version.

It was great to see Rose at the New Inn for the first time in several months, able tonight to get hold of the car to drive all the way from Swindon. She gave us Joan Baez's version of Go Away From My Window which John Jacob Niles wrote when he was 16 years old. Youthful writers became a theme of Rose's singing in her third song, Freight Train, written by Elizabeth Cotten when she was just 11. Rose's middle song was the less well known I Liken My Love (Nicola Clark).

Mike's first song of the evening was We're All Surrounded (Roud 9164), which gave us a good chance to get our chorus (or more accurately refrain) singing muscles working.

Dragon first-timer Paul sang two of his own songs: Weather Man despairs that the British always seem to complain about the weather, whereas he enjoys the variety that our home country's climate provides. His second song, The Festival Dance, was written at Jenny's suggestion when Paul was feeling sorry for himself following an incident where he fractured his collar bone while dancing at a music festival and tells the story of that incident and his subsequent recovery; enough after three weeks to play the ukulele and write the song.

Paul apologised for only knowing his own songs but it really wasn't necessary; everyone's welcome at the Dragon Folk Club, and the singing or playing of anything is acceptable as long as it's acoustic.

Colin introduced a theme of mining with Coal Tattoo (Billy Edd Wheeler), which was doubly followed up by Richard, singing The Coal Owner And The Pitman's Wife (William Hornsby) and Black Leg Miners (Roud 3193).

It's a pity I can't find a shareable recording of Trousers On The Door, which Derek sang because he accompanies it with an interesting tale. As is stated in the linked article, Gordon Syrett from Mid-Suffolk was recorded singing the song and at the end of the recording he says "There's one more verse but I forgetten 'im". Apparently Derek had been looking for the lost verse for years but if you read further down the linked Mudcat conversation you will see that it has been found in the American Library of Congress. While I can't link to a version of the song, if you have Spotify you can find that very recording of Syrett by searching for "Trousers on the door".

Lesley sang The Corncrake, a song referring to locations near to Bristol, being written by founder member of the Harry Browns, Ian "Nobby" Dye and his daughter, Erin. So catchy was the previous tune that Mike was unable, without the help of all assembled, to pin down the tune for his next song, Bristol Channel Jamboree, which is a staple of the Bristol Shantymen, of which Mike is a member (though not present in the linked video).

Derek closed the session with Never Let Your Dingle Dangle.

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

(Number of people present - 9, of whom 8 performed)

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