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, 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.

Geoff dusted off Stan Crowther's amusing but potentially controversial Vicar And The Frog.

John O and Chris O sing variously together and separately and were quickly informed that if they chose together they would still have to sing two per round; it's only fair. (I say "have to", we don't often force people to sing but these are the rules of the game until we change them). This time they sang together Run Come See, Jerusalem ("Blind" Blake Alphonso Higgs) and Finest Of Them All (Dave Ritchie).

Derek's first song challenged me slightly. I will venture that it is a poem set to music and that the poem is Adieu To My False Love Forever by John Clare.

Simon, in a successful attempt not to refer to written words all evening, began with King of Rome (Dave Sudbury).

John B2 started his return visit with Fare Thee Well (Roud 422).

Phil's first song was Rock Island Line. I wonder whether he got it from Lonnie Donegan? Knowing Phil, he may well have gone back a bit further than that. In fact it was first recorded by John A Lomax at the Arkansas Cummins State Farm prison in 1934.

Mike sung The (Bonny) Shoals Of Herring (Ewan MacColl, Roud 13642). Mike insisted on the insertion of "Bonny" in the title but I have been unable to find any definitive indication that "bonny" appears anywhere other than in the lyric. Never mind that, MacColl wrote the song wrote it for the BBC Radio Ballads series (Singing the Fishing - 16 August 1960).  The song was based on the life of Sam Larner, a fisherman and traditional singer from Winterton, Norfolk and is supposed to have been written using Larner's own speech patterns, thus giving it a particular air of authenticity.

And so we were round to Colin again, who suggested that his song may not have been sung in the club since the death of our old friend, Ray Croll. I'm not sure of that but Grandmother's Chair (John Read) was certainly one of Ray's many well-received songs.

As is the tradition, I will go on to mention all the songs sung by our visitors and since they are several it will take up most of the rest of this report, and that certainly isn't a bad thing.

John O sang Jez Lowe's These Coal Town Days which led to Derek, brother-in-law of Jez, claiming (in jest) four-pence for the family coffers. Chris O, noting that she was the only lady in the room, gave us Drink To The Laddies (Sue West).  John and Chris O came together again to sing Limehouse Reach (Cicely Fox Smith) and Northern Tide (Linda Kelly).Singing separately again John O gave us The Village Fool (Bernie Parry) and from Chris O we got Miles Wooton's Public Bar, a parody on Early One Morning.

John B2 sang The Lily Of The West (Roud 957), which reminded Derek of an amusing story from the very start of his teaching career which I probably shouldn't tell here. Come to The Dragon Folk Club singing that song and he might tell it again. John's next and final song was The Wurzels' version of The Blackbird (Roud 23614). This completed a trio of songs from that band, the other two being first timer Richard with Drink Up Thy Zider (Adge Cutler) and Phil with Virtute Et Industrial (Adge Cutler).

Richard's other songs were Sloop John B  and Wild Rover (Roud 1173). The signing of the latter song, the signing of which can in some places be the subject of a fine, prompted Derek to sing a few verses of Hell's Angel, some of the verses of which may be here.

Before closing I must fulfil my minuted action, to confirm that Phil's sing, Riders In The Sky was written and first performed by Stan Jones, with other early recordings being made by Burl Ives and Vaughn Monroe; also Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee and Spike Jones.

The last song of the evening was Colin with The Wedding Song (Roud 1155).

The theme this week is Easter, and be prepared for a St George theme on 21 April.

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

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

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