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.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Valentine's Day 2020

(Photo: Simon Meeds)
At our Valentine's Day session it was great to see Mel return for his second visit and even better that he indicated it is likely to become a regular occurrence. There were many songs of love and/or lust and a few which were simply calendar-relevant.

Colin, our MC, started things off with Jan Knuckey.

Let's get out of the way the songs which referred to the calendar rather than to love and lust. The ones I spotted were Mike's Last Valentine's Day (Roud 6475) and Derek's Bold Princess Royal (Roud 528, Laws K29).

Simon's slightly sideways glance at Valentine started with reminiscences of a love lost with Harvey Andrews' Margarita. Mike's more conventional approach, if with some playing hard-to-get was Come Write Me Down (Roud 381).

Derek gave us children's rhyme, Postman Postman (Roud 19234). While I have yet to find a recording of the British version, here is a more modern American game which is obviously derived from it.

Mel suggested that his song was more about lust than love, it being The Funeral Song (Keith Marsden). With this and his next song, The Reed Cutter's Daughter (Roud 5397), Mel was complimentary of our ability to join in choruses.

Derek impressed again with his powers of memory. He had been doing some on-line research a few days before and had come across the title of a song which is not in his repertoire. He decided to look up the words but before finding them had already sung it through. He wondered however, where he had come across The Jute Mill Song (Mary Brooksbank, Roud 2585). He had found it on a Ewan MacColl album which he once had but found that there it was a CD bonus track but his was a vinyl pressing and would not have had it. Mike said that the club's old friend, Betty McDonald, used to sing it, but Derek had not heard it from her. Mike remembered another female singer from the North East singing it; perhaps someone Derek had come across when he lived in that region? Mike couldn't remember her name but Derek later came up with "Di Henderson" (video), so a tentative agreement was made that it may have been her.

I have been unable to come up with any proof that Henderson sings the song. I was quite pleased to come up with the recording linked above of Mary Brooksbank singing it, but what Derek really wanted me to find was a recording of Brooksbank with Hamish Henderson. I like to oblige. Go here, and type "Mary Brooksbank" in the first "Enter search text" field, then type "Hamish Henderson" in the second such field. Finally, hit the "Search" button. There should be a total of 32 results on four pages.

Simon's Valentine contributions reached a peak of obscurity and even perversion with Brother Gorilla (Jake Thackray, George Brassens).

When Mike was stuck with what to sing on the theme, Derek suggested he may know some sea shanties about storms, given the imminent arrival of storm Dennis. Mike's response was to sing the oft-requested Doodle Let Me Go (Roud 3221) but this got Simon thinking, and inspired his next song, which he had not previously considered performing. Beginning with "Dennis is a menace with his 'Anyone for tennis'" it was Chris de Burgh's Patricia The Stripper. Meanwhile, Colin remained very chaste with the bowdlerised version of Maid Of Amsterdam (Roud 649) which he learned at school.

Mel gave us some fun with Jim Mackie's The Yorkshire Couple, Leon Rosselson's The Neighbour's Cat and The Old Game Cock (Roud 10733) which finished off the evening.

Now listen to a selection of songs sung during this session.

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

Monday, 10 February 2020

Some more nonsense

(Photo: Simon Meeds)
Last Friday's session was a time for announcements of forthcoming themes, so here are some dates for your diary:
  • 14 Feb - St Valentine - principally love and lust but taking note of his patronages: Affianced couples, against fainting, beekeepers, happy marriages, love, plague, epilepsy, Lesbos
  • 28 Feb - St David - Wales; Pembrokeshire; Naas; vegetarians; poets
  • 20 Mar - St Patrick - Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, Archdiocese of New York, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, Boston, Rolla, Missouri, Loíza, Puerto Rico, Murcia (Spain), Clann Giolla Phádraig, engineers, paralegals, Archdiocese of Melbourne; against snakes and sins
  • 24 April - St George - England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Catalonia, etc.; agricultural workers, farmers, field workers; soldiers; archers; armourers; equestrians, cavalry, saddle makers; chivalry; skin diseases, lepers and leprosy, syphilis; sheep, shepherds;

Sunday, 2 February 2020

I Can See for Miles and Miles...

Aletsch Glacier (Photo:Simon Meeds)
The Substitute Scribe was on duty again and declared he could see no more obvious topic for the 31st Jan 2020 than to celebrate Dick Miles' 69th birthday, performing our favourite songs learnt from Dick. Derek therefore sang Bogie's Bonny Belle (Roud 2155), Farewell to the Monty (Johnny Handle), Tommy's Lot (Dominic Williams) and Lord Bateman (Roud 40 Child 53), as well as his own Flatlands, the first verse of which was inspired by Dick's Sugartown (a Suffolk nickname for Bury St Edmunds). No-one else chose to contribute a song to this, but Mike told a number of amusing anecdotes attesting to Dick's maladroitness with technology.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

The Day The Pub Burnt Down / Closed Early

OK, it was originally supposed to be
a castle burning down (Image by Simon Meeds)
This evening being earmarked for Robbie Burns, your Substitute Scribe decided, as a fatuous pun on 'Burns', to sing The Day the Pub Burned Down (Rudy Sunde – brother of Ruby Tuesday?). Shortly afterwards the barmaid gave the dreadful news that our festivity was to stop at 10:15 as the rest of the pub was practically empty and they were closing early.

Given Burns' propensity for claiming authorship of most of the songs known in Scotland in C18, I have put together those songs which are associated with as well as those actually written by Burns.


[Colin] You Jacobites by Name (Roud 5517), Parcel of Rogues (Roud 5516) & Lassie with the Yellow Coatie (Roud 2582). This last caused great problems, since Colin found himself using the similar tune of the shanty I'm Bound Away – perhaps understandably similar, since the Yellow Coatie girls were fisherwomen, gutting fish etc on the quayside. With a little tutoring from Mike, he got through it, only to find Derek struggling to escape the same tune while singing Coming Through the Rye (Roud 5512).

Monday, 20 January 2020

Surprise, Surprise!

In the knowledge that the Regular Scribe would be absent on a mission of mercy, your Substitute Scribe came to the club door, depressed by the idea that the death that day of Derek Fowlds signified bad news for all Dereks, and anticipating a thin attendance. Instead he was met by three of our favourite Irregulars.

One person who did not attend was the one who the day before had stumped up a million pounds for a gold sovereign. He might well have been worried by Gary's first, self-penned, song King David Hartley which recounts the activities of the eponymous Hartley and his gang of counterfeiters and coin clippers in the area around Heptonstall in the 1760s.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Beggars and tinkers

Not a beggar (Photo: Simon Meeds)
While last week's session had no official theme we fairly quickly got into a groove of beggars, tinkers, hawkers and down-and-outs. There will be no theme again this week, but be prepared for Burns' Night the following Friday (24 January).

Colin started us off straight into the theme with When This Old Hat Was New (Roud 1693) although of course he didn't yet realise it would be a theme.

Mike told us that it was forty years since he first met his wife, our good friend Maggie. He met her at a ceilidh where she turned up overdressed for the occasion. His first song was Dave Paskett's I Couldn't Take My Eyes Off Her, which Kevin Adams (see linked video) sang at their wedding and with pretty accurately told the story of their first meeting except the reference to a pizza house, which didn't come into it.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

New Year 2020

"Pop" by Simon Meeds (c1995)
Up one from the previous week and therefore just barely quorate, we were able to usher in the New Year in style with some appropriate songs and some, well... you will see. There will be no theme this Friday so anything goes and you would be very welcome to swell our numbers, whether or not you intend to perform.

Colin, back in harness as MC, started the evening off with The Day We Went To Rothesay O' (Roud 2142). Simon had brought several appropriate songs with him but he only managed to sing one before they were sung by others and that was Peggy Seeger's Come Fill Up Your Glasses.

Derek of course was well supplied with themed songs, starting his contribution with An Orkney New Year's Carol (Roud 4584), and Mike completed round one with Dave Goulder's The January Man.