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, 20 June 2018

The bag of wind

(Photo: Marco Verch)
Last week's session was a bit thin on the ground for bodies but with some ad hoc themes we made it a worthwhile evening. Being the start of the football World Cup, "the beautiful game" (let me go off and be sick for a moment) and Russia were obvious candidates.

Colin, being MC, started us off with The Old Man Who lived In The Woods (Roud 281, Laws Q1).

Derek was the first to address the subject of the bag of wind with Little Sir Hugh (Roud 73, Child 155) - "...the lads of merry Lincoln, when they play at the ball".

Simon was still working on his collection of long-neglected words but found a very tenuous link for Mike Harding's Small High Window. Mike H writes about working in a factory and finally getting out on his day off to walk on the moors, but Simon suggests he could alternatively have gone to a football match.

Mike (S that is) on the other hand eschewed the soccer entirely, claiming not to follow it; we all know he has a team but he claims they don't play the game as we know it. His first song was Tom Lewis' Recall.

I don't know whether Colin intended a footballing connection with Maggie May (Roud 1757) but I asked him anyway whether it might be Liverpool (the subject of the song) or Brentford (where Rod Stewart was once on the payroll of the football team).

Derek eventually picked up that he could sing about Russia more readily than about kicking a ball, and therefore gave us We Are From Omsk.

Simon's second long forgotten page of words was given to him about 24 years ago by a then about ten-year-old cousin. She obtained the words from her teacher and decorated them herself with coloured crayons. The song was A Place In The Choir (Bill Staines). This was maybe the precursor to a sub-theme of songs for by or about school children. The official first song of this set was Colin's Child On The Green (Ian Bruce).

While teacher Derek claimed he didn't wish to be reminded of children going to school on a Friday night he wasn't slow to continue along the same lines with a lullaby although to be fair the reason for a sudden burst of such songs had more to do with Mike's canine friend Indy suddenly deciding the day had been too strenuous and collapsing on the floor (in a good way). The lullaby in question was the lovely Bonny At Morn (Roud 3064), sung in the video linked here by the immediately recognisable, to me at least, voice of Graham Metcalfe, who I used to come across in my days as a regular at the Nettlebed Folk Club in Oxfordshire. Graham is these days based in Canada.

Colin followed almost immediately with another lullaby, at least in name: Ewan MacColl's Lullaby For The Times. We pondered what the father in the song had done to be in gaol but I have failed to find more than the briefest mention of this song, so "answers on a postcard" would be very welcome - failing that in the comments section below, please.

Derek returned to the theme of football while still maintaining the children thread with The Twa Brothers (Roud 38, Child 49) - "...nor little play at the ball".

Although he said he was going well outside his comfort zone, Colin made a good fist of Bad Moon Rising (John Fogerty). Simon responded with what he said was "arguably a good moon rising": Mike Harding's Bombers' Moon.

Derek got the final song of the evening and while it is one he has sung before, it gives me a minor problem of explanation. He would clearly call it Johnny Come Down The Backstay but that is the name of a different shanty (Roud 9439) whereas what Derek sings is rather Johnny Come Down To Hilo (Roud 650).

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

(Number of people present - 4, of whom 4 performed)


  1. Hello guys. Wasn't able to send message private as I didn't see how.! (Rubbish at technology) we've attended many sessions Joe and I. It is with great sadness o write this message that Joe Rushbrook has passed away. I wanted you guys to know and if you want to attend his funeral. Westerleigh Crematorium 12.30pm Friday 6th July. Love Joscie xxx

    1. Hi Joscie,

      I am really sad to hear about Joe and I am sure everyone else associated with Dragon Folk Club would join me in passing on condolences to you and everyone else who know him. He really was an inspiration and a joy to know. I believe he (and I hope you) enjoyed your visits to our session and you would of course be welcome to join us again on any Friday night.