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, 5 June 2018

Another One of Those Nights!

Bob Hart
This is the Substitute Scribe speaking. Firstly may I make it entirely clear that no one made a sustained attempt to actually sing The Purple People Eater (sorry, I don’t know its Roud number!) Colin however did sing Down by the Dockyard Wall. Derek then queried a similarity in the tune to that of Dave Webber’s Watch and Chain. Colin pointed out that both tune and words of Dockyard Wall were by Shep Woolley. Geoff proceeded to identify him as a regular actor in Rawhide and as the singer /composer of The Purple People Eater. However, as subsequent research reveals, the latter was actually Sheb Wooley[1]. The Southampton-based Shep was given his nickname (even a long thread on Mudcat nearly 10 years ago failed to reveal his real name) because he was rather more agricultural than Sheb.

Yes, folks – it was another of those Dragon nights when the craic in between is more interesting than the actual songs! And by the way did you know that the English ‘crack’ was the original word and it was only Gaelicised into ‘craic’ later? If so, please make an effort to get to the Bridge – we need your brains.

The whole thing actually started with the opening song of the night – Colin sang Tom LewisRadio Times only for challenges to be put up against both the following lines:

“Peter, Paul and Mary proved new songs could still be found,
The Mommas and The Poppas hit us with ‘The West Coast Sound’"

Later  Colin (yet again the trouble maker) sang Balaena (Roud 285) provoking a discussion led by Mike on what exactly, if any, would be the navigational result of ‘her engine running free’.

Steve sang The Blue Cockade (Roud 191) which is more generally known as The White Cockade. Pursuing the idea of coloured regimental cockades Mike then sang The Ups and Downs (Roud 364) (which Derek calls the Umps and Dumps) which Mike calls the Orange and Blue, a title used by Derek for The Nobleman’s Wedding (Roud 567).

If you are sitting with your head in a bucket of iced water after trying to comprehend that last paragraph, it may convince you why Roud numbers are such a good idea. But since only the Absent Scribe can remember all the numbers, we had to make do by agreeing to call it the Aylesbury Song for the rest of the evening. But this caused Derek to recall the following sad story (details now confirmed): the old East Anglian singer Bob Hart used to sing a version of the Umps and Dumps which began 'As I strolled out by Happisburgh' (pronounced Hasebro - a seaside town in Norfolk). Someone one day heard him sing it as 'As I strolled out by Aylesbury'. They asked why he had changed it. He said it was because he had got it wrong before, and when asked what he meant, he explained that 'one of those Folk people told me it should be Aylesbury and I know he must have been right because he showed it to me in a book.'

Late in the evening Geoff sang Roud 2185 about a soldier, but we were far too tired to argue about whether he was an Inniskilling Dragoon or an Enniskillen one (George Sigerson), and the possible influence of Mr Thomas Makem on the subject.

Steve appeared on his own since Jane was taking part in a story-telling gig for World Peace. If you are reading this in safety, you may assume she and her friends were successful! Steve’s songs included Free in the Harbour (Stan Rogers), Dublin in the Rare Old Times (Pete St John), and When Adam was First Created (Roud 728).

Derek concluded the night with Derby Ram (Roud 126); unless Mike is reading this, in which case Derek concluded the night with the Nepalese National Anthem (Byakul Maila, Amber Gurung), which Mike doesn’t sing.

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

(Number of people present - 5, of whom 5 performed)

[1] (Note from regular scribe) Shep Wooley was at the first proper folk club event I ever attended at the former Oddfellows Hall, then known as The Hornpipe, in Portsmouth. Jake Thackray was due to perform but his Volvo car broke down and he had to postpone. I think there was an option for the return of ticket money or re-validated tickets for Jake's appearance on a later night (I took the latter). Shep proceeded to MC my first (non participatory) singers' night. I was hooked and became a regular at The Railway Folk Club for the remainder of my time in Portsmouth.

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