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, 28 December 2017

Last of 2017

Eurasian Wren with hatchlings
Last week's session on 22 December turned out to be the last of the year. Those present decided to allow the club to have a week off this Friday and return on 5 January 2018 to start the year.

Unfortunately we closed the year with a disappointing turn-out of three. We might have left without singing a song since four is usually considered a quorum except that Colin was expecting a newcomer to turn up but that didn't happen.

So, we carried on regardless and sang a total of twelve songs each! Derek, who had been absent for the previous week's Christmas theme, brought forward some songs on that theme and some for Boxing Day (the hunting of the wren). Cleverly he eked these out by singing one, The Cherry Tree Carol (Roud 453, Child 54) in two parts on different rounds, and splitting two songs which he usually sings together: The Wren (Roud 19109) and The Boys Of Barr Na Sráide (Sigerson Clifford).

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Important notice - no session on 29 December 2017

There will no Dragon Folk Club session on Friday 29 December. We will be back on 5 January at The Bridge The Bridge Inn, Shortwood, Bristol BS16 9NG from 8:15 pm. Be thereto join us in welcoming 2018.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Christmas 2017

The Nativity, from a 14th-century Missal
Thank you to everyone who turned up last Friday and made our Christmas session a great success. The numbers at the bottom of this article speak for themselves. With festive preparations and professional panics weighing heavy I can only skim the surface of the festivities. Not only did we have lots of fun singing songs of yule and not-so-yule but we enjoyed a well-deserved half time buffet, with thanks to all those present for their edible donations.

Geoff gets the award for man of the match, bringing half his family with him; I hope they enjoyed themselves and may even grace us with their presence in the future, and perhaps even sing us a song or tell us a story. My ringing, and emailing and texting brought forth fruit in the presence of Chris, Roger and Phil, Tom, Steve G and Keith G (no relation as far as I know). We were also joined for the second time by visitors to the area from Yorkshire, Malcolm and his lady, whose name I'm afraid I didn't catch. We couldn't have asked for much better.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Memories of John

John Lennon at the Montreal bed-in, 1969
I'm afraid this won't be a very full report of last Friday's Dragon Folk Club session. I have an excuse, which is that I have been without internet access at home for part of this week. However I must take this opportunity to say that this week's session, on Friday 15 December will be our Christmas Party. Everyone is welcome as always to drop in and sing, play tunes, tell stories or just to listen. What sets this event apart is that the performances may optionally be Christmas themed and there will be a finger buffet. We will all be contributing a few nibbles, so it would be great if you could bring a small edible contribution as well but chiefly bring yourselves and as many friends and relations as you can muster.

Back to last week and Colin as MC called upon himself to sing the first song, which was The Arethusa (Roud 12675).

Thursday, 7 December 2017

St Andrew's Day 2017

Point of Sleat, Isle of Skye, Scotland
(Photo: Simon Meeds)
Last Friday's session saw a satisfactory number of seven bums on seats for a St Andrew's Day theme. I had pointed out in publicity that St Andrew is patron saint of many places and things other than Scotland, including singers, but it was barely needed since I think there were only two songs clearly unrelated to Scotland, one very deliberately and the other was written by someone with what appears to be a Scottish name.

Colin was the MC and he called on Steve C to start us off; Steve sang Jock Stewart (Roud 975).

Thursday, 30 November 2017

A handful of songs

We met as seven for last week's session which had no theme. The title of this report does not mean we sang only a few songs, for in fact we sang a good number if not exactly a record; I make the total forty. Nor does it imply that the song made famous by Guy Mitchell and Tommy Steele was sung. Nor is there any particular connection with the 1970s children's TV programme of that name (see the photo). It is rather that they seemed to come in a number of small, logical groupings, some of which I will attempt to bring out here.

But first a quick mention of this Friday's session, which will mark St Andrew's Day which takes place just the day before. So the main intent is for the singing of Scottish songs and the playing of Scottish tunes but if you need more scope, then look into the other places and activities of which St Andrew is patron, or otherwise just sing, play or recite anything you like because the theme is optional.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The dream of Napoleon

The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries
(by Jacques-Louis David, 1812)
Last week's session attracted five people to a themeless evening of music and song. This week, 24 November, will also have no theme.

Colin was MC as usual and he kicked us off with At The Boarding House. Derek was a bit late for the anniversary of the Blantyre Explosion (Roud 1014), which took place on 22 October 1877 but he suggested people might like to follow a theme of songs about Blantyre, the birthplace of David Livingstone - some chance anyone would follow that!

Steve C gave us The Mountains of Mourne (Percy French, Roud 18229) which Simon followed with Candlelight Fisherman (Roud 1852).

Derek sang The Dream Of Napoleon (Roud 1538) which prompted Mike to attempt Napoleon Bonaparte (Roud 1626). Despite a false start he managed to reprise it later on, instead initially singing Johnson Girls.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Remembrance 2017

(Photo Simon Meeds)
Last week's session marked Armistice Day with remembrance, or rather it was a war, anti-war and remembrance theme. The six of us present kept remarkably well to the theme though of course there were a few stray songs which is always permitted. This Friday's session (17 November) has no theme, so anything goes as long as it's acoustic.

I am sorry, I won't have time to write the usual lengthy report on last week's session but you can still use the link at the bottom of this article to hear many of the songs that were sung.

It was great to see Gary, self-confessed "social butterfly", as he happened to land on his home flower in a break in his schedule of flitting between more or less exotic blooms. Among the songs he sang was his own White Poppy.

Phil, Derek, Mike and Simon made up the complement together with Colin in his usual role as MC.

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

(Number of people present - 6, of whom 6 performed)

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

More campfires than Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes Night 1776 at Windsor Castle
Last week's session was our Guy Fawkes Night bash with songs and stories encouraged on any subject related to the man, to fire or things you might do round the campfire. This week's (Friday, 10 November) will be the Remembrance session, so any form of performance war-related, anti-war or for remembrance would be excellent. If you can't manage the theme, then anything goes as long as it's acoustic, and if you don't want to perform then you are most welcome to come along for the fun and make us an audience.

Back to last week, Colin was MC and he started off proceedings with Richard Digance's Boy Scout Song.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Halloween 2017

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan,
a central figure in John Milton's Paradise Lost
c. 1866
Last week's Halloween themed session brought out only four singers. Let's ee if we can make this week's Bonfire themed evening more populous.

Colin was MC and he started us off on-topic with Fish, Tin And Copper, a song which has Old Nick visiting Cornwall and being frightened away by a pasty.

Steve C made his first appearance at the Dragon Folk Club for a while and was understandably the only one not prepared with songs in theme. His songs for the evening were The Jeannie C (Stan Rogers), Lunenburg Skies (Terry Young), The Blarney Roses (Roud 6329), White Squall (Stan Rogers), The Rare Ould Times (Pete St John), Ranter's Wharf (John Conolly, Bill Meek), Candles (Jon Heslop), Guard Your Man Weel (Johnny Handle) and Mantle Of Green (Roud 714, Laws N38).

Thursday, 26 October 2017

There's going to be a revolution

Bolshevik forces marching on the Red Square
Last week's session saw six of us singing a wide variety of songs to no particular theme. This Friday the theme will be Halloween so we look forward to hearing your songs of ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties, or maybe hubble, bubble, toil and trouble.

It was good to see Phil after missing the last few months, bringing back his songs of 19th and early 20th century USA. Colin was MC and started off the session with Tim Laycock's Heaven's A Bar.

A few discernible mini-themes emerged during the evening, not least the singing of two quite different versions of the same song (Roud 1, Child 200). Colin started it off with Raggle Taggle Gypsy while Phil gave us the transatlantic version in the shape of Gypsy Davy.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Should I sing this?

Cotton Bales, Savanna, Georgia
It was almost two weeks ago that the Dragon Folk Club last met. Last week was a fallow Friday for us and this is the somewhat belated report of the session from the previous week. Seven was a decent turn-out for us in recent weeks and it was good to see Richard for the second time recently (not Richard G, who has left the area but Richard who is apparently a regular at Folk Around Fishponds and is known to Colin from that club).

The parish notices, as placed in the previous short blog post involve a number of themed nights coming up, so you are encouraged mainly to come and be part of the fun, but if possible to dig out some songs and tunes to match the themes:

  • 20 October - Session with no theme
  • 27 October - Halloween session
  • 3 November - Campfire, Guy Fawkes, etc.
  • 10 November - Remembrance

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Parish notices

I won't be hurrying out the report for last week's Dragon Folk Club session, mainly because there is no session this Friday (13 October) so I will use it to publicise next week's session (20 October) which will be without a theme. We have however got a few themed sessions coming up, so I will take this opportunity to inform you and perhaps you can put on your thinking caps to come up with some appropriate songs, tunes, monologues or whatever other forms of performance you wish to share:
  • 20 October - Session with no theme
  • 27 October - Halloween session
  • 3 November - Campfire, Guy Fawkes, etc.
  • 10 November - Remembrance

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The anniversary waltz

Kevin Barry
Before getting down to the report of last week's session there is an important notice, that there will be no Dragon Folk Club session on 13 October because The Bridge Inn is hosting a wake for someone from the village. There is no need though to go without music that week because there are two recommended events.

On Wednesday 11 October Simon's friend Damian Clarke is doing a gig in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières. Damian, who plays hammered dulcimer and hurdy gurdy, will be joined by George Whitfield on accordion and Kent Nielsen on ukulele. All this will be at The Star Inn, Fishponds and will kick off at 7:30pm.

The second recommended gig is friend of the Dragon Folk Club, Keith Hyett who is performing his own classical guitar compositions as part of his Memories of You tour at Mount Pleasant Community Centre, Bradford on Avon at 7:30pm on Friday 13 October. Tickets at £7.00 are available on the door or from www.ents24.com.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

The sound of silence

No, not an intimation that someone sang Mr Simon’s popular ditty of the 1960s; nor yet did a passing musician drop in to perform John Cage’s 4’33’’ (a work that should surely be incorporated into the repertoire of so many guitarists).

The title above is in fact a full and detailed record of the songs sung and music played by the three people who arrived for this week’s session. Even Indie didn’t believe it was worth his while to attempt to vocalise to an audience that numbered less than his legs.

We will meet again this Friday. What happens then, and from then on, will depend upon what support folkies in the area are willing to show.

(Number of people present - 3, of whom 0 performed)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Here We Arrrrrrrrrr Again

Tuesday 19th being International Talk Like a Pirate Day your Substitute Scribe was shocked to discover that his own rendition of Phil Tanner’s version of Henry Martin (Child 250) was the only piratical event of the evening. 

The session began with Colin singing Droylesden Wakes, which he entirely failed to record in the Book as Dreighlsdin Wakes, which was its original title before it was rendered into ‘more gradely English’!

A couple of unusual partnerships should perhaps be recorded in case they one day prove to have been the birth of a pair of world renowned Super Groups. Firstly John B, having arrived with not only his trusty bodhran but also an Egg Shaker which he had bought that afternoon and was anxious to try out, asked Colin to accompany him on guitar whilst he sang Australian Slim Dusty’s Pub With No Beer. Secondly Derek, when singing Jarama Valley (Alex McDade), asked Roger, who had earlier both sung and played Red River Valley, to reprise his harmonica part as an accompaniment.

Monday, 11 September 2017

A touch agricultural

(Photo: администрация Волгоградской области)
For those of us who remember the halcyon days of Dragon Harvest Night with tables groaning under the weight of freshly grown or at least freshly purchased comestibles, and the assembled masses groaning under the weight of fines from Mike for breathing out of tune (or just for breathing), it was very sad to see the tiny turnout for this week’s charity evening – 5 performers, and one visitor  who sat through one complete round before deciding she had left her life elsewhere and went off to look for it.

But we are the Tradition, and the Tradition goes on in lean times in the hope they will again lean the other way. So there will be a small donation going the way of Shelter; precise details of the amount will appear here next week.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A cornucopia of themes

Barley (Photo: coniferconifer)
Last week's session was better attended than some recent ones but we still need more of you to come and join us. You never know, you may actually enjoy it despite what they say. This session seemed particularly packed with the unusual, the thought provoking, the entertaining and the random!

Colin was MC and kicked us off with Bob Dylan's Sara. In fact Dylan became one of several themes for the evening. John P's contribution was the long and perplexing Bob Dylan's 115th Dream. Simon eventually added The Mighty Quinn.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Do your research

Beacon at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool
Last week's session was light on people but weighty on songs and on learned chat. I have limited time and one or two promised follow-ups to cover, so please forgive me if I'm a little light on collected recordings again this week.

First an announcement... the Harvest session will be on 8 September. Not only does that mean a harvest theme to as many songs and tunes as possible but also a special raffle. Please bring produce which can be offered as prizes and pockets full of change for the raffle and any random collections that may take place. Proceeds this year will go to Shelter, a charity that Dragon regular, Roger has previously supported with his own musical evenings.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Singing Together

BBC Singing Together
In the unlikely event that the Substitute Scribe has any readers from among the Younger Generation he apologises to them for the obscurity of this week's title. Singing Together was an educational programme back in the days when the only multimedia presentations for school students were delivered by moving a 'portable' (i.e. capable of being lifted by two people) Bakelite radio from room to room.

For many of us, it was our first introduction to folk music, and it was remembered this week when Colin sang Grey Hawk (Roud 293), a song Derek recalled voting for (the only one in his class who did) at the end of term Eurovision Song Contest type vote for best song. John P then recalled from the same source, and sang, Lincolnshire Poacher (Roud 299).

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Colourful session

(Photo: jagerm)
A quick and dirty report this week on last week's session I'm afraid because there's a lot going on at home for this scribe. Don't worry, nothing bad, just a bit hectic.

We assembled as a perfectly respectable eight singers and Colin was back from his holidays, so he took back the club accoutrements and the mantle of MC for the evening.

Miraculously, Simon had turned up first and so got to sing first, giving us Dave Sudbury's King Of Rome. Colin, freshly inspired no doubt by a visit to Sidmouth Folk Week, sang The Reason I Left Mullingar (Pat Cooksey).

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Bon Voyage to Richard and Lesley

(Photo: Tim Dobson)
Last week was a farewell to our friends and Dragon Folk Club regulars for fourteen years, Richard and Lesley who as I write this report have now headed up to North Wales. We hope we will see them again at some time in the future but for now we wish them well in their new home and with working in the Welsh language!

We were also joined by Tom, Steve G and John B, and Maggie L with her canine friends Gertie and Freddie.

We heard this week that Terry C's wife has had a stroke. She is still in hospital but is apparently walking around. We wish her a speedy and satisfactory recovery.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Centenary of Passchendaele

Australian gunners on a duckboard track in
Château Wood near Hooge, 29 October 1917
(Photo: Frank Hurley)
We were about to start with only three of us at last week's session when Mike came through the door with his canine companion, Indy. As he left for the bar I think it was Colin who suggested we start and Derek who insisted we wait for Mike to return. And so we started with four, plus dog. But before we were through a song or two Chris and Roger arrived to make us properly quorate.

Colin was MC and started the singing with Lamorna (Roud 16636), a song from Cornwall; a version of a song from Manchester called Pomona.

Simon was next to sing with No Sir No (Roud 146). Derek noted this week's centenary of Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres and sang what he claimed was the Copper Family's version of Two Young Brethren (Roud 202). Well the linked version by Folly Bridge appears to be faithful to the Copper's but isn't particularly close to what Derek sang. In any case, Mike commented in relation to Derek's version that his friend Dave Marshall sang very similar words but had two further verses, I believe making more of the brewing of the harvest to make beer.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

No discernible thread

Martin Niemöller (Photo: J.D. Noske / Anefo)
It was a pleasant surprise last week to see two people who hadn't joined us for quite a while. Paul was a regular Dragon attendee before he moved some distance away. Robin was also once a regular but hasn't been since 2014, at least partly due to his extreme folk festival attending ways - then I saw him twice in as many days, but that's another story.

Colin was MC and started off the session with Crazy Man Michael (Richard Thompson, Dave Swarbrick) and Geoff followed him singing Dandy Vernon (Michael Snow).

Paul, as is his usual way gave us a collection of self-penned songs. The first of these was Moondance Again, inspired jointly by Van Morrison's famous hit and a beach holiday Paul once had with his wife. For his second song Paul had planned to sing part of his song Then 'Til Now, a nine-verse epic inspired initially by the death of an American blues-man he admired. Each verse details an atrocity experienced by black people in the USA in a different decade of the blues-man's life, starting in the 1920s. Colin suggested he sing all nine verses, and after some discussion Paul decided the sing it in two sections, which he did over his next two turns. His last song of the evening before taking the long and winding road back home was That's All I Know.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Mining more songs

Wardley Colliery (Photo: Lee St)
We were joined for the first time in a couple of years or more by Robin in a break from his regular folk festival attendance. There was no official theme but Derek picked up on his own theme from last night, being mining songs mainly from the North East of England.

Colin was MC and started off the evening with The Old Turf Fire (Roud 8215).

Derek was immediately into his mining theme with Sooth Medomsley Strike (Tommy Armstrong, Roud V40590). He followed up with Little Chance (Roud 3385), The Coal Owner And The Pitman's Wife (William Hornsby), In The Bar-room (Roud 3486), Number Two Top Seam (Roger Watson), Rap Her To Bank (Roud 1786) and Jowl Jowl And Listen (Roud 3191).

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Mainly mining

Durham Miners' Gala (Photo: Darrell J Rohl)
Last week's session looked like being similar to the previous one with four people present at the start but over the course of the first few songs our numbers were swelled to a respectable eight. There was no official theme and Colin, in his role as MC, started us off with John of Dreams (Bill Caddick, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky). Colin noted that this was a song often sung by our friend Terry C at our sessions.

Two further songs from Terry C's repertoire were sung, mike, pointing out that he had been singing it longer than Terry, gave us Eric Bogle's No Use For Him and Simon sang Hughie Jones' The Ellan Vannin Tragedy.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Garummph garummph

Coulter's Candy (Photo: alistair fitchett)
In spite of Colin’s suggestion that this week’s title be Scottish Filth, I have chosen the above, to represent the sounds emitted by your Substitute Scribe, who as a result of over-practising for a school musical event (subsequently cancelled) was left with virtually no voice at all.

We welcomed back Tom who at least raised the number of attendees enough for us to be able to make a choice whether to hold a sing-around or a few hands of bridge. Having decided on the former, Colin began with Ian McCalman’s Let’s Recycle, based on events in Midlothian, and hence inadvertently introducing the first Scottish element to the evening.

Tom mercifully continued with Allan Taylor’s Roll on the Day, probably the only song in the canon pitched low enough to allow the suffering SubScribe to join in

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Short Stories

Joe Brown (Photo: Garry Knight)
One of my shorter reports this week I'm afraid but you can at least listen to many of the songs we sang last week by following the link at the bottom.

Eight wasn't a bad turn-out after the last few weeks. Colin as MC started us off with Joyce The Librarian (Peter Skellern, Richard Stilgoe).

Terry sang Pete Coe's The Wizard Of Alderley Edge and Roger gave us I Leave My Heart In An English Garden (Christopher Hassall, Harry Parr Davies).

Chris and Geoff presented a surprisingly well choreographed duet of Summer Wine (Lee Hazlewood) given that it was done on the spur of the moment. Geoff on his own pondered What A Crazy World We're Living In (Alan Klein) and Simon told Dave Sudbury's mainly true story of the King Of Rome.

Mike's first song of the evening, and the last of our first rotation, was Eric Bogle's And Now I'm Easy.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

White Acres

Roger Whittaker (Photo Wilfried Wittkow)
Summer is a time when people head to the hills and beaches or wherever, so we might expect some of our regulars to miss a few weeks but we are here waiting every Friday to welcome all our folky friends, even those we have yet to meet, who are gravitating in the direction of the South West of England, whether they're staying in the Bristol area or just passing through. Please come and swell our ranks, even if it's only for one session. Perhaps you'll like us enough to drop in another time when you're down our way, others have.

Colin was MC and started the session off by referring to a new fast food outlet being built in Fishponds, and sang a song he had "collected" from Maggie S: McDonald's Kitchen (Seamus Kennedy).

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Beginning with an end

Humpback Whale
This week's report will be abbreviated and at least initially won't include links to YouTube. This is because I am writing this from a hotel room in Athens. No, I'm not on holiday, and not even on an exotic song-collection trip - it's all to do with my day job I'm afraid. But after a nice and impressively cheap meal I am set up to write some sort of report of last Friday's session, and I will be at the next session on Friday if KLM can get me back in time.

Some present may wonder how I counted 5 present. No the fifth wasn't the club hound, Indy, but the former landlady of The Bridge Inn, who joined us as audience for a few songs - sorry I don't remember her name, I hope she will forgive me. Someone didn't even recognise her - no names there either! ;-)

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Election Fever

Photo by Rama
It may appear since we had six at the previous week's session and the same number at this one that we have a very limited pool of talent to draw on (I use "talent" loosely, but what the heck?). "Not at all", I say, because we had replaced a whole 50% of those present last week this time with regular Mike (and his possibly faithful hound, Indy), semi-regular Steve G, and very welcome occasional visitor from as far afield as Swindon, Rose.

There was no official theme but there were some interesting threads that emerged through the evening.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A random selection - almost

Pecker Dunne
Another themeless session last week which I think remained pretty much that way, no major themes emerging through the evening. Tom was a very welcome visitor, ahead of his spotlight set at Chipping Sodbury Folk Night on 1 June.

As usual, Colin was MC, and as often happens he started off the evening, this time with George Papavgeris' As Long As Someone Sings A Song.

Derek continued his ongoing May theme well into the evening, starting with The Verdant Braes Of Skreen (Roud 419).

Geoff challenged me to find the version he sang of his first song. Derek suggested looking up Elizabeth Cronin but I'm afraid I failed, so here is Séamus Ennis' version of As I Roved Out which seems similar enough. Apparently Ennis recorded Cronin's singing, so perhaps this isn't such a surprise.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The punk tradition - for a change

The boy from county hell
(painting by Brian Whelan,
subject Shane MacGowan)
While we were short on numbers last week, we were not short on enthusiasm and at least one person said at the end of the evening how good it had been.

Colin was MC and started off with a song he seemed to have only come across recently but at least two of us sang along with him, so perhaps he was the only one who didn't know it? The song in question was the Lyke Wake Dirge (Roud 8194). While Colin cited the Pentangle version, Mike mentioned the version by The Young Tradition (linked here). Mike also proudly stated that he has done the Lyke Wake Walk.

We had a couple of notable, themes. The first of themes, started by Geoff, was a fairly conventional one for a folk club, being the songs of Bob Dylan. Geoff sang Just Like A Woman and John P followed up immediately with Bob Dylan's Dream. The latter being noted as taking the tune of Lady Franklin's Lament (sung a couple of weeks before by Simon). According to Mike, Dylan foolishly tried to sue someone for singing the original, traditional song to "his" tune. Much later in the evening John P sang Percy's Song (Bob Dylan).

Mike harked back just a few days to 14 May with The Bonny Black Hare (Roud 1656) while Simon sang of The Galway Shawl (Roud 2737).

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Striding through May

St Constantine's Church, Constantine, Cornwall
(Photo: Vernon White)
While we didn't quite hit the heady heights of the previous week's attendance, eight didn't seem too bad last week. There was no official theme though some people were carrying through the May theme from previous weeks.

Colin was MC and generously put himself on first. He broke the ice with Steve Knightley's Man In Green to mark the previous weekend's Jack in the Green procession in Bristol.

Derek fulfilled the promise I made in the previous blog report, that he would sing a version of the song Hal an Tow (Roud 1520), used on Helston, Cornwall's May Flora Day, but this time the one used in neighbouring Constantine (sorry I couldn't find a recording of Constantine).

Thursday, 11 May 2017

New Faces for May

Photo: Nikki T
I often say how great a session was in the report and I always mean it but last week was rather special. At the beginning of the evening we assembled as seven regulars, which would have been quite respectable but then a trickle of people started to file into our room, finally making up seven members of the Island Folk Choir. We were very pleased that as well as sharing some of their group singing, several members performed solo and in small groups.

As usual, Colin was MC and he started off the evening and the theme of "May" by singing Pleasant Month Of May (Roud 153); all of Colin's songs of the evening had May connections, however tenuous.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Seven Seas

Kaskelot in Bristol (Photo: Simon Meeds)
Last week's session got off to a slow start. Parking was unusually busy outside The Bridge Inn, so I wasn't early but was only the third to arrive. We had a pleasant chat and I think were about to decide whether to stay or go when Steve C arrived just on cue. At a grand total of four we were quorate and after some more procrastination we got the evening going.

Colin was MC and he started us off with So Long It's Been Good To Know You (Woody Guthrie, Roud 15161). With no theme we didn't really know what was coming next and despite being small in number we managed to come up with quite an eclectic mix of music for the evening. Some songs were intentionally aimed at a May theme and others accidentally hit that spot. Nevertheless, our official May themed session will be this week (Friday 5 May).

Friday, 28 April 2017

St George's Day 2017

Raphael - Saint George and the Dragon, 1506
It was good to see Maggie S at last week's session, and we were joined by two very welcome visitors from Yorkshire who didn't want to sing but did want to publicise the Cleckheaton Folk Festival which takes place in June/July, so there we are, I've done it. It will also appear on our links page.

It was two days before St George's day so the theme was George, England, dragons and anything else that seemed appropriate.

Colin as MC asked Steve C to start us off which he did with Jock Stewart (Roud 975) which wasn't exactly to theme but we don't mind that.

Derek had other plans for the evening's theme but started off with a token song from Norfolk: The Bailiff's Daughter Of Islington (Roud 483, Child 105).

Colin was first to really hit the theme will full force, singing Billy Bragg's Hard Times Of Old England Retold.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Deaths, Resurrections and a Rising

Photo: Jarosław Pocztarski
This week’s session was rather curtailed, not by the small number present, but because of the discovery by the landlord of an ancient piece of pub lore which apparently reads:
If it be Good Friday, then
We shut at half-past bloody ten!
So with the pressure of attempting a record number of songs in a night taken from our shoulders, and without the Regular Scribe to produce definitive answers from the Internet, the conversation was able to range wide – as wide in fact as from Fred Jordan’s opinion of George Stubbs to discrepancies between the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls as to the number of apostles.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A bit of fun

Last week's session had not a bad turn-out despite the absence of some regulars. We had three second-time visitors: John O and Chris O were once again in the area for a weekend's caravanning, which is to be encouraged (they previously visited in August 2016), and John B2 (to differentiate from our regular but absent John B) once again came with Phil (he last visited in October 2016). There was no official theme.

Colin was MC and started off with Richard Digance's What's The Use Of Anything.

Our fourth visitor of the evening, Richard, was known to Colin but was, as far as I am aware, a Dragon virgin. He was surprised to be called on so early, thinking that we might pass the baton around the room, whereas, subject to the MC's discretion, we usually take turns by order of arrival. Nevertheless, he gathered himself together and sang Sydney Carter's Lord Of The Dance.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Four Rogers

It was a very satisfactory turn-out last week when we were joined by Rose and by Keith G, neither of whom had been to the Dragon Folk Club very recently.

With no theme and Colin in charge, he started us off himself by singing No Hopers, Jokers and Rogues (Rupert Christie).

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Famous Five

Dawn, South Maple Street, photo: Keith Carver
The ‘thirteenth’ alternative scribe arrived at the Bridge Inn at the same time as Colin, our regular MC, so organisationally we were looking good. Just after 8.15 pm Derek arrived and boosted the number of attendees by 50%.

Derek brought good news, Maggie L was feeling better than she had been, and he was also able to stay for the whole evening. He could not, however, be persuaded to exercise his status as first alternative scribe and gleefully declined my invitation. Colin announced there was no theme and Derek declared that he had a whole ream of Irish songs to still get through from the week before.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

St Patrick's Day - 2017

Chicago River dyed green for St Patrick's Day 2015
Photo by Scott M Liebenson
No excuses this time, our session really was on St Patrick's Day and most of us managed at least some Irish songs though I'm not sure we answered Gary's challenge from the week before to name some decent Irish song writers from the last 50 (was it?) years.

With the absence of several regulars it was good to be joined by Steve G, who drops in occasionally, and Paul, who is a rare sight since his move to the wilds of Somerset.

Colin as MC put himself on first and sang Galway Farmer (Steve Knightley), an appropriate celebration of the Cheltenham Festival which usually coincides with St Patrick's Day and is therefore a honeypot for Irish owners, riders and punters.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Bits and Bobs

The Richard Oastler pub, a former chapel, in Brighouse
mentioned in the first song of the evening
Last week's Dragon Folk Club session had no theme so the songs reasonably ranged widely. It was good to see John P come along for his second dose of the club - we obviously didn't frighten him too much the previous week, and it was good to see Gary for the first time in a while.

Colin was the MC and he started us off, before Gary's arrival, with a song from his repertoire as well as that of the late Alan Mitchell: Brighouse On A Saturday Night (Roger Davies).

Geoff won't be with us for the St Patrick's Day session this Friday (take a note for your diary), so he took Ireland as his personal theme for the night, his first being The Patriot Game (Dominic Behan). John P was also in Irish mode with Star Of The County Down (Cathal McGarvey).

Thursday, 9 March 2017

St David's Day 2017

Depiction of the Rebecca Riots,
Illustrated London News 1843
It was good to see a new face at last week's session. Geoff brought John P along - this sort of behaviour is to be encouraged. While John had never sung at a folk club before he certainly came prepared with Welsh songs to fit our theme, and had a selection of other material once he had run out. Well done John, we look forward to seeing you again very soon.

If you're considering coming to the Dragon Folk Club for the first time, don't think we expect you to come prepared like John with lots of material; of course that would be great but by all means come along to suss us out before attempting to sing or play on a subsequent visit, or indeed come along even if you have no intention of ever performing. We're a pretty friendly bunch and welcome singers and musicians of any standard or none!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Carter's Lads and Lasses?

The Carter Family
While last week's turn-out of six at our session doesn't on first glance seem much of a triumph it wasn't bad considering that two of our regulars were off pursuing their other interests and a third was sorely missed.

As I write, it is St David's Day, and following today this Friday's Dragon Folk Club session (3 March 2016) will celebrate all that is Welsh - well, I suspect that there will songs which stretch the definition of celebration, but you get the gist.

Back to last Friday, there was no official theme and as usual Colin was MC. John kicked us off with his own composition: The Bridge Inn Blues.

I'm not quite sure what Colin's message was when he sang Please Do Not Get Offended (William B Glenroy). William B Glenroy's real name was William B Gray, and he was co-author of another song which we hear occasionally: The Volunteer Organist.

Friday, 24 February 2017

To far Amerikay and back

Vicky and Richard (Cooper and Toller)
There were 12 people at last week's Dragon Folk Club session, which is much more like it than recently. We welcomed Tony and Hillary back after a break, albeit that their visit was short and sweet. We were also pleased to see Vicky and Richard (Cooper and Toller) back for a second visit - we hope there are many more to come.

First the parish notices: this Friday (24 February) we need all the support we can muster since two of our regulars won't be around. If you haven't been to see us for a while or even have never been before, this is the time to find your way to The Bridge. Then next week (3 March) is our St David's Day special, so songs and tunes from or about Wales (or by extension usually also whales) will be very welcome though as usual the theme is optional.

Back to last week's report and Colin was MC as usual, getting Geoff to start us off. Geoff told us of an oversized hand gun which Marty Robbins found in a gunshop and sang the song which came from that occasion: Big Iron. This started a flurry of American songs.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Valentine's Day 2017 and Trimdon Grange + 135

Tommy Armstrong
The report will be short and sweet this week since I've ended up writing at the last moment. Last week's session was themed Love and Lust for Valentine's Day. While we were small in number we were strong in voice, and joined as we were by our friends Joe and Josci, who we hadn't seen for some time.

Colin was MC and started off with a version of Clementine which was sung as Valentine. I haven't found any mention of it on the web, so all I can say about it with any confidence is that the first line is "In North Walsham by the cobbler's".

As you might expect there was some smut, including Colin's Bell Bottom Trousers (Roud 20105) and Simon's Big Bamboo.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

We got the blues

Cliff Carlisle
While last week's session was theme-less, this week's on 10 February, will be our Valentine's special, so the theme will be Love and Lust. Come prepared with song, tunes and whatever other material you fancy along those lines.

Back to last week, Colin was MC and he had Geoff start us off. Geoff's contribution was the first of several blues that we had through the evening, being Winkle Picker Shoes Blues.

Our other bluesy numbers were John with the St James Infirmary Blues (attributed to Joe Primrose and after Roud 2 - The Unfortunate Rake), Phil with Railroad Bill (Roud 4181), John with Black Water Blues (Bessie Smith), Roger, accompanied by Henry, with Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell) and Phil with My Rockin' Mama (Cliff Carlisle).

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Burns' Night 2017

reconstructed head of Burns
Finally a respectable quorum for this year's Burns' Night session. That is it was our Burns and Scotland themed session which took place two days after Burns' Night. In fact the attendance was so numerous that it even deserved three raffle prizes!

As always at The Dragon Folk Club, the theme was optional, so there was plenty of variety. Colin was MC and he started off proceedings with a comic offering from Captain BeakyThe Haggis Season (Jeremy Lloyd, Jim Parker).

I won't get into the debate about which songs and poems Robert Burns wrote, which he collected and which he stole, so please read anything in this blog post which claims to be by Burns as being any one of those options.

Roger recited The Banks O' Doon (Roud 13889 - Robert Burns) as a poem and Chris gave us the Eriskay Love Lilt (I grew up to that version by Judith Durham).