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, 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.

Phil got us singing with My Dixie Darling. Although this is usually credited to AP Carter (1936), who in this case seems to have modified the words, as often with his songs, it is a copyright grab and the original, Dixie Darlings (1909) was written by Arthur Gillespie to a tune by Percy Wenrich.

Derek took a lead from my suggestion on Facebook that we might hear mention of the Durham Miners' Gala (pronounced "Gayla") this week, since it was to take place the day after our session, on 8 July. He didn't disappoint, singing four songs more or less inspired by that event or at least by miners from that very area. The first was Jock Pirdon's The Cotia Banner. Derek's second on the theme also came from Jock Purdon and was Farewell To Cotia. The third on this theme was Johnny Handle's Farewell To The Monty. The final song along these lines was Wardley's Great White Wall, about the Wardley pit's last days when the coal seam turned into chalk and no further extraction was possible.

Derek sang one other mining-related tune but it was inspired by Gary's singing of The Clog Dancer (more sedately than this version) which includes the words "When I was young I used to be
A miner like yourselves But now because my hair’s turned grey They’ve put me on the shelf ". It was this that led to Derek singing The Banks O' The Dee (Roud 3484): "I am on old miner of fifty and six... I can't get employment now my hair it's turned grey".

While Simon was keeping up with the scores of the 20-20 cricket match between Glamorgan and Hampshire for Derek (Hampshire won), Gary gave us Roy Harper's When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease.

Colin is notable for singing his own words to Mike Oldfield's mainly instrumental Hergest Ridge, inspired by the hill of that name in Herefordshire.

Phil departed from his usual mainly American fare to recite for us a John Betjeman poem, which I believe was The Olympic Girl.

Chris unnecessarily apologised for singing Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, derived from a poem called To Celia by Ben Jonson.

Roger took us on a whistlestop tour of England with On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At (Thomas Clark) and The Lincolnshire Poacher (Roud 299).

It was Colin who closed the evening with the Noah's Ark Shanty (Roud 318).

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

(Number of people present - 8, of whom 8 performed)

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