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.

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.