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, 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.

Colin was MC and he took it upon himself to start us off in the harvest theme with our first version of John Barleycorn (Roud 2141 - more accurately Hey John Barleycorn). Compliance with the theme, which is as close as we get to a compulsory theme in the Dragon Folk Club year, started off well with Richard singing Now Westlin Winds (Robert Burns, Roud 6936) and Terry with The Country Carrier (Roud 1400).

Derek said he had used up some of his harvest songs in the preceding weeks but would keep to theme before diverging to anything to do with farming. He delivered bawdily with The Thrashing Machine (Roud 1491).

Mike gave us The Farmer's Boy (Roud 408), Simon When I First Came To This Land (Roud 16813) and Geoff Drink Up Thy Zider (Adge Cutler). I think that is as far as we have got with at least vaguely traditional songs for a very long time, and even Adge must have local treasure status even if he is not quite yet of the tradition!

Jo wasn't convinced she had anything to fit the harvest theme but did her best with Michelle Shocked's Blackberry Blossom. It was good to see Jo again accompanied by her husband, Mel. He'll be a regular before he knows it!

On the second Round Richard chose to find a theme of his own, and the one chosen by Google for it's "Doodle" of the day, marking the 358th anniversary of the arrival of tea in the UK. Richard put the kettle on for The Cup O' Tay.

Keith G brought further goodies with him on his arrival and sang one of his folkier songs with If I Were A Carpenter (Tim Hardin). Not that we have anything against non-folky songs, you understand - anything acoustic is just fine.

When half-time came we tucked into the customary harvest buffet and bought copious numbers of raffle tickets for Colin's chosen charity (Bristol Drugs Project). Some people rejoiced in several of the numerous prizes and while we ended up with a surfeit of courgettes and onions, not all brought in by me, honest, most things went whether to raffle winners, those given consolation prizes and those who offered money in return. Adding in some donations at the end of the evening, the preliminary total for the charity was a creditable £60 with some more to come.

For his second song of the evening Tom chose to make Maggie S happy by singing one of her favourites from his repertoire, White Trash (Brian Cookman).

Richard got a little confused over who had written the poem, Some Thoughts On Harvest, which he set to the tune O Tannenbaum. After the session he confirmed it was written by Judith Jones of St Julians Methodist Church, Newport.

It's usual to have several versions of John Barleycorn at our harvest session but this year we managed only two and they were both from Colin. His second grain-worshipping song of the evening being John Barleycorn (Roud 164).

By this time, even Derek's harvest links were, as he warned, becoming slightly tenuous with John Crisp's Farmer On A Bike.

The penultimate song of the evening came from  Jo and was Mercedes Benz (Bob Neuwirth, Michael McClure) before Colin asked Tom to finish off the session, which he did with Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma, Johnny Mercer).

So we now find ourselves at this week's session, this Friday, 30 September. There is no theme so you are welcome to bring anything acoustic on any topic, or just bring yourself to join in the music and mirth. Some say "this is a folk club, you're not here to enjoy yourself", but don't take any notice of them!

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

(Number of people present - 13, of whom 10 performed)

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