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.

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).

Derek was slightly frustrated that he had used some of his most appropriate Scottish songs in recent weeks but said that wouldn't stop him singing some more throughout the evening. His first, in the Lallans tongue was Hamish Henderson's Freedom Come All Ye.

Tom stayed off the "Scotch" (sic) all evening, preferring the American (Rye?) and starting with Jim Croce's Bad Bad Leroy Brown.

Mike sang his one Robert Burns song, which we assume he collected south of the border: John Barleycorn (Roud 164), though presumably Burns didn't sing it to the tune Wir Pflügen (attributed to Johann AP Schulz) to which the 1782 German poem which became We Plough The Fields And Scatter was set in 1800 (after Burns' death in 1796).

Terry C picked another Scottish writer in W Gordon Smith to open his innings for the evening with Come By The Hills.

Geoff had a cold and didn't think he could sing, so he went with spoken word for the evening, givign us a selection of one-liners from Scottish comedian, Chic Murray, though not necessarily these, nor these. He also remembered a poem taught to him by an apprentice who he supervised in the 1960s. The apprentice was Scottish but Geoff wasn't so sure about the poem. In fact Wee Cock Sparra was written by Hugh Frater and Duncan Macrae and published in the The Edinburgh Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry. Macrae would regularly perform it on the BBC's Scottish variety show, The White Heather Club. The Penguin TV companion in 2006 voted The White Heather Club one of the 20 worst TV shows ever.

Simon sang Nancy Whisky (Roud 883) and that was followed by Richard with Bonnie Susie Cleland (Roud 45, Child 65), which caused Derek to observe that if he played his cards right he may, unusually, come out with only the second most gruesome death of the evening.

Lesley kept to her Welsh roots but with a nod to Scotland singing Max Boyce's The Scottish Trip. It was very good to see Richard and Lesley after a break from the Dragon Folk Club of a few months. We know there are reasons for their absence and that later this year it is likely to become permanent but in the meantime we hope to see them from time to time; they are otherwise sorely missed.

Steve seemed to have reams of paper covered with various verses of Leezie Lindsay (Roud 94, Child 226) and he couldn't believe that Burns wrote them all. In fact it seems that he only wrote the chorus and that the verses may have come later.

And so ended the first circuit of the room. Here are some other Burns, Scottish and Scottish-connected songs that were sung:

The session was finished off by Terry C with the Farewell Shanty.

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

(Number of people present - 12, of whom 12 performed)

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