|Thumper and Vera - the two currently flying Avro Lancasters|
(Photo Simon Meeds)
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.
Getting back to Remembrance, Colin was MC and Derek started off the singing with Tommy's Lot (Dominic Williams). The musical setting of Cecily Fox-Smith's poem, Homeward, was Mike's first song.
Phil, who rarely makes any attempt to keep to themes, and there's nothing wrong with that, made an exception this time, starting with Sinking Of The Reuben James (Woody Guthrie), Colin brought us slightly more up to date with Roy Bailey's Ghost Story from the Falklands War.
Geoff took us through the best part of the twentieth century in wars with Ian Campbell's The Old Man's Tale. Mike Harding's song, Jimmy Spoons, sung by Simon looked at the effects of the First World War on an old soldier through the eyes of a child.
And so, with only six singers we were back to Derek, who gave us a sing which I haven't managed to trace which uses the framework and chorus of the several songs which go "Beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly..." to tell the story of the Falklands War. Derek said the song came from the singing of a band from the Manchester area and had several more verses than the three he chose to sing.
For the rest of this report I will pick through some of the most obviously war-related songs we came up with:
- Watch And Chain - Dave Webber (Mike)
- The Battleship Of Maine - Roud 779 (Phil) - Phil opened a discussion about the subject of this song, which is USS Maine (ACR-1), an American naval ship that sank in 1898 in Havana Harbor during the Cuban revolt against Spain
- Fighting For Strangers - which is credited as "traditional" by Steeleye Span but is actually an amalgam of three traditional songs put together by the band (Colin)
- Where Have All The Flowers Gone - Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson (Geoff) It was Joe Hickerson who added verses to the song, thus making it circular: returning the end of the final verse to the beginning of the first
- Bomber's Moon - Mike Harding (Simon) A song hinting at Mike's Lancaster navigator father, who was killed on a raid in 1944
- Hanging On The Old Barbed Wire - Roud 9618 (Mike)
- The Crow On The Cradle - Sydney Carter (Colin)
- Eve Of Destruction - PF Sloan (Geoff)
- The D-Day Dodgers - Lance-Sergeant Harry Pynn, Roud 10499 (Simon)
- Texaco Fusiliers (Derek)
- Normandy Orchards - Keith Marsden (Mike)
- Salonika - Roud 10513 (Colin)
- Billy Don't Be A Hero - Mitch Murray, Peter Callander (Geoff)
- Peat Bog Soldiers - written by prisoners in Nazi moorland labour camps in Lower Saxony, Germany (Simon)
- Jarama Valley - Alex McDade (Derek)
- Blowing In The Wind - Bob Dylan (Geoff)
- A Poor Aviator Lay Dying - Roud 3454 (Derek)
- War Without Bangs - Geoff Pearson (Colin)
- There But For Fortune - Phil Ochs (Simon)
- When This lousy War Is Over (Derek) We discussed whether this really was a First World War song, or whether people were being misled by its inclusion in Oh What A Lovely War! Well, as far as I've been able to research it on-line, it is First World War, though possibly with the words of the version linked here: "When This Bloody War Is Over".
- The Volunteer - Davis, Smegmakovitch (Colin)
And finally, Simon finished off the evening with Rout Of The Blues (Roud 21098).
There is no theme next week, so come ready to sing anything you fancy, and if you wish, to start your own ad hoc theme. Audience members, as always, are also very welcome.
Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.
(Number of people present - 6, of whom 6 performed)