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.

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.

Colin, MC-ing as usual kicked off proceedings with The Ballad Of Old Seth Davy (Glyn Hughes).

Mike started off a political thread to mark the upcoming election with his version of Hanging Johnny (Roud 2625) in which he kills of a variety of political figures, past and present. Simon was first to follow on, making a sideways comment at Donald Trump (possibly) with This Is The Way The World Ends (Brian Bedford).

In a brief respite from such serious matters we heard Rose sing The Cuckoo Bird (Roud 413), Derek perform Dancing At Whitsun (Austin John Marshall), and Steve G play There Is A Stone (John Smith).

Colin brought us firmly back to politics with Ewan MacColl's Legal Illegal. Mike followed up on a historical theme with Leon Rosselson's World Turned Upside Down.

Mike's first, Hanging Johnny, had made a rather terminal mention of Enoch Powell and it was this that inspired Derek to dig up a song he said he had tried to bury several times on the subject of that particular politician winning the seat of South Down in 1974 for the Ulster Unionist Party. Contrary to speculation, Derek did not write this song but collected it from a singer in Oxford. He remembers there were three verses but on first hearing he was only able to commit two to memory (not a bad feat, I think) and so that is how he sings it, when he's not digging a hole to bury it!

Still on political themes, Colin sang Ewan MacColl's Black And White and Mike gave us Blackleg Miner (Roud 3193). Continuing with the industrial, Simon sang Bruce Springsteen's Factory. Another song from "The Boss" came from Steve G with Youngstown.

Mike had earlier said that he didn't remember The Red Flag - Derek said he didn't remember all of the verses but had a pretty good go, singing it to the tune The White Cockade, as intended by its writer, Jim Connell, rather than the more commonly used Lauriger Horatius (or Tannenbaum as it's often known). Mike returned with Banks Of Marble (Les Rice).

Rose came up with an entirely unintentional thread of misleading attributions. First she sang The Smuggler's Song, which is usually attributed to Rudyard Kipling because it appears in his story Puck of Pook's Hill. Our friend Tom however presented me some time ago with his own research which he believed showed the song to be older than this. I have to admit I haven't entirely unravelled Tom's work yet but let's say the attribution is open to discussion but that's not Rose's fault.

Similarly, we won't blame Rose for Derek's exclamation when she attributes Down By The Sally Gardens (Roud V28639) to WB Yeats. Derek explained that Yeats half remembered a song his nanny used to sing to him as a child. In fact he only remembered a few lines, not even a verse and managed to embroider his new song around those few words. The original song, which is in Derek's own repertoire, was You Rambling Boys Of Pleasure (Roud 386).

I have to briefly mention a strangle little song that Derek sang. It seems to be called The Wee Wee Song. Derek suggested that it might have been written by Matt McGinn though he thought he may not have admitted to it. Well, I don't know about that but, I have seen it categorised as a scouting song.

Steve G sang a song by Al Stewart and challenged Colin to name it. Colin was as good as silent on the matter. The title turned out to be Samuel Oh How You've Changed, which didn't seem to be from the lyric at all.

Colin finished off the evening with a song by Dougie MacLean, the second of the evening since Simon had earlier sung Caledonia. Colin's song spoke of taking time to learn to use something and using it well but never mentioned what the subject was. I suggested Colin ask Steve G what the title was. Steve was just as stumped as Colin had been earlier. The title was Scythe Song.

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

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

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