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, 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.

Mike continued the Passchendaele theme by singing a song I haven't been able to trace but which I guess to be called Away To The Western Front, which mike sings to the tune of Shenandoah. Around this time Simon remarked on an article he had read, and apparently Derek had seen it too, about babies having been named after battles in which family members had died. The article went on to interview a nineteen year-old girl who had received the middle name of Passchendaele, passed down in her family from that time. Derek imagined the scene when a teacher asked the five year old girl to spell her full name, Simon thought the five year-old girl might be able to do so better than the teacher!

Roger followed the wartime theme by singing a song from his time in the Welsh Guards, a version of In The Evening By The Moonlight (James A Bland), though not the linked one, but rather one with a chorus: "Moonlight moonlight jolly fine moonlight, Moonlight moonlight moonlight". Roger commented that the RAF Bomber Command could have sung it into the early hours as he and his comrades did. Mike pointed out that this was unlikely, and by way of explanation Simon sang Mike Harding's song, Bombers' Moon.

Returning to the Passchendaele theme, Derek sang Dominic Williams' Tommy's Lot, which mentions the battle. We had a couple of songs more or less connected with the musical Oh What A Lovely War: mike with When This Lousy War Is Over, and Roger with They Didn't Believe Me (Jerome Kern, Herbert Reynolds) on which We'll Never Tell Them is based.

As the unofficial war theme started to falter, it was mentioned that we hoped Richard and Lesley would be able to join us the following week, and this brought about the suggestion of singing some of their songs. Derek started us off with Hares On The Mountain (Roud 329) and Mike followed immediately with Duw It's Hard (Max Boyce). possibly Chris' singing of David of The White Rock (Dafydd Y Garreg Wen - David Owen, John Ceiriog Hughes) falls into this category?

Simon drew a blank on songs reglarly sung by Richard or Lesley but having too little time to work out the scansion, read as poetry rather than sang a song Richard had written about Simon himself: The Dodgy Doombar.

Chris offered up another on this theme: Ye Banks And Braes (Robert Burns, Roud 13889).

Derek finished off the evening by leading us from this sketch written by John Finnemore, into Drunken Sailor (Roud 322).

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

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

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