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, 15 August 2018

More Of Your Nonsense

Old man of Port Grigor
(image: Edward Lear, adapted by Goetz Kluge)
With Derek back in the fold last week I have an apology to make. The week before, he wasn't apparently watching Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire at cricket, though he would have rather been doing so than what he was doing - hearing a mechanic make the traditional mechanic's sound of air inhaled through teeth while considering the repairs necessary to Derek's car which was in serious ill health.

Anyway, straight on to the music, Colin as MC kicked off with what he described as a bit of nonsense... The Tailor And The Mouse (Roud 16577).

Derek took the challenge and while I unfortunately haven't come across a recording of his Nonsense Song (Roud 5269), there is quite a lot to say about it. Derek said it was probably collected from someone usually credited as "Alien Stollery". As expected, her name appears to be Aileen Stollery, though I have also seen it spelt as "Aline". She was the daughter of Jack 'Dot' Button. While I can't point you in the direction to hear the Nonsense Song, if you follow this link and search for Aileen Stollery, you can hear her sing three other songs.

The story of this song though goes a little further because looking at the Roud index on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website, there are two listings for 5269, one called The Nonsense Song, and the other H Mi Rinkum. Both have the same first line, ignoring probable transcription errors, as Derek sang ("My thoughts today are far away beneath the deep blue sea"), both were collected by Peter Kennedy in Woodbridge, Suffolk, and both were sung by Herbert Last.

Geoff's sterling attempt at nonsense was a well known song from the 1950s, known in the UK from Max Bygraves' version, Gilly, Gilly, Ossenfeffer, Katzenellen Bogen By The Sea (Al Hoffman, Dick Manning).

Derek noted that he had "missed" singing themed songs at the time of the 2018 Durham Miners' Gala and so, he brought out two songs by Jock Purdon, The Cotia Banner and Farewell To Cotia. Mike commented that in the former, Derek sang of Bunker Hill, whereas mike had previously heard "Byker Hill". Derek was able to confirm that Purdon himself had sung "Bunker Hill". Nevertheless, this led Mike to sing Byker Hill (Roud 3488).

This all led into a spate of mining songs from Mike: It's A Working Man I Am (Rita MacNeil) and Duw It's Hard (Max Boyce). We heard that during the miners' strike of 1984-85, Mike had performed at an even for the Welsh miners. After singing some songs from the North East of England he sang this last song, only to find out later that Max Boyce, booked as the surprise guest for the evening, was in the audience. Max asked Mike where he had got his version from, since he sang it in a half-spoken way. He said that was because he could never keep the tune going after the first verse. Max admitted that this was how he had originally written it before adding the final tune and that it had never been recorded like that.

Derek's final mining song was The Wardley Great White Wall about the events that led to the pit at Wardley near Gateshead closing in 1969 when the coal seam gave out into a chalk one.

Colin finished off the evening with an unusual version of The Wabash Cannonball (William Kindt, related to an earlier song by J. A. Roff); unusual but not unpleasant because Colin had templorarily forgotten the tune, and seemed to hit on something more in the style of The Eagles.

We will of course be meeting this Friday (17 August) but more importantly, I have to pass on the news that our annual Harvest session will take place on Friday 31 August. Please come along in your thousands bringing with you whatever produce you can muster either from your garden or from elsewhere (keep it legal though). The charity we will support this year has yet to be confirmed.

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

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

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Where is our recruiting sergeant?

The Female Drummer (Photo: Simon Meeds)
In the absence of Derek last week, perhaps watching his beloved Glamorgan narrowly beat Gloucestershire at the cricket, we were very pleased to see Tom again so soon after his last visit, bringing us up to a just quorate five singers for the evening.

Colin, MCing as usual, started things off with Matt McGinn's Manura Manya, followed swiftly by Geoff, with the song which inspired it, The Kerry Recruit (Roud 520, Laws J8).

The latter led Mike to propose a recruiting theme, for which he provided The Female Drummer (Roud 226). Geoff retorted with The Good Ship Calabar and Mike came back with The Bold Fusilier (Pete Coe, based on a traditional song).

Simon continued his Canadian theme of two weeks previously with The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald (Gordon Lightfoot), Peggy Gordon (Roud 2280), Lady Franklin's Lament (Roud 487, Laws K9) and Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell).