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 New Inn, Westerleigh, Bristol. Everyone is welcome whether you sing, play or just listen.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Bob Dylan's Prize

Bob Dylan, pictured just down
the road from us at Aust ferry in 1966
For last week's session we ended up in the public bar again, displaced by a private party but our numbers, at 11 were pretty reasonable and swelled by a newcomer, who I believe said his name was Steve. He didn't sing but indicated that he could be prepared to perform on another visit. We look forward to it.

Colin was MC and there was no set theme though some people chose to mark Bob Dylan being honoured by the Nobel Committee as its literary laureate. I note that the latest reports as I write this indicate that Bob hasn't responded to repeated attempts to contact him and that they have now given up. We shall see whether he turns up to receive his award.

Derek started off with a Bob Dylan song, Playboys And Playgirls though he added his own first verse: "You Swedish academies haven't a got a bloody clue...".

The main follower of Dylan this time was Geoff who gave us The Times They Are A Changin', It Ain't Me Babe and Like A Rolling Stone.

Mike marked the day by mentioning 14th October in his rendition of Pretty Nancy Of Scarborough (Roud 407).

Phil started a trail of songs with John Henry (Roud 790) about the legendary "steel driving man". This caused Derek to borrow a guitar (unheard of) though only as percussion backing to a chain gang song which I haven't been able to track down  but which also mentions John Henry. Derek said his song was collected from James "Iron Head" Baker by John Lomax and whether by coincidence or design, Phil followed on with Pick A Bale O' Cotton (Roud 10061), which was also recorded from Iron Head.

As usual, Roger was a provider of classic songs including Bless 'Em All (Fred Godfrey, Robert Kewley, Roud 8402) and If You're Irish Come Into The Parlour (Shaun Glenville, Fred Godfrey).

Chris and Simon both gave us traditional songs sung by Joan Baez: Chris with The Great Silkie Of Sule Skerry (Roud 197, Child 113) and Simon with Geordie (Roud 90, Child 209) - notice how I deftly slipped in another YouTube reference to Bob Dylan there?!

Tom spent part of the evening goading Gary to sing from the Australian part of his repertoire by getting out Cootamundra Wattle (John Williamson) and Diamantina Drover (Hugh McDonald), but it was Colin who rose to the challenge with The Drover's Dream (Roud 5473).

In fact Gary stayed resolutely on British soil with No More Beer From Kendal (Dave Goulder), Come By The Hills (W Gordon Smith) and Guy, Guy, Guy, Stick Him Up On High (a Guy Fawkes Night rhyme from Yorkshire and/or Kent), thus preempting our theme of Bonfire Night and Campfires which will be our session on 4 November, just a day early.

Colin put himself of to finish us off for the night with Cousin Jack (Steve Knightley).

There's no theme again this week (21 October), so get down to Westerleigh for a really good sing on any subject that pleases us, and you.

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

(Number of people present - 11, of whom 10 performed)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

When is a Croppy Boy not a Croppy Boy?

Charlotte Schreiber's painting
The Croppy Boy (The Confession of an Irish Patriot)
Colin was back in action as MC at last week's session. There was no theme but several people performed their leftovers from harvest.

Derek started off the session with The Croppy Boy (Carroll Malone) which was straightforward enough it seemed, except Mike, returning from a walk with his dog Indy challenged Derek about the version. Derek said it was what came of sitting in an Irish club for a long time, to which Mike said in Irish clubs around Bristol they sing a version which they know as McCafferty. Derek looked a little put out and I assumed he was thinking that Mike meant McCaffery, a song which Derek also sings. Anyway that was that until, on the second round Derek challenged Colin and me with the open question of what we would call his next song. With some deft Googling I had the answer, and shared it with Colin for the club's official record... and the song was... The Croppy Boy (Roud 1030, Laws J14).

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Floreant tirones

Boston, Lincolnshire (Photo by Simon Meeds)
It was great to see three first time visitors at last week's session. Hilary, who made contact via the Dragon Facebook page was visiting Anne so they both came to see us. Both enjoyed the evening and I hope we will see them again when Hilary is next in the area. John came with Dragon regular, Phil and while he was uncertain about singing gave us one song and said he would try to prepare some more before he comes again.

In the absence of Colin, Simon was MC and Derek kicked off the session with Another Man's Wedding (Roud 567, Laws P31).

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Harvest 2016

(Photo by Joinash)
Last week's Harvest session was a little disappointing, not just because we had a respectable rather than great turn-out but also because we were usurped from our usual bar by a private party on what was supposed to be a special night for us. We can't blame the pub for booking the bar out to an event that brings in more money than our folk club but it would be nice to have some advance warning which I don't believe we had on this occasion.

We ended up in the main bar, which was OK but the ambient noise level, not to mention the TV showing sport isn't really conducive to what we are trying to do. Don't worry, it's not always like that and I'm sure it will be fine this Friday.

It was great to see that people had brought along a fine array of produce both for the half-time buffet and the raffle.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A right good do

Photo by Tim Green
A good turn out last week with returns for John and Geoff and an appearance from Steve G after his visit to Burleigh Horse Trials.

Colin was MC and Derek started off the session. Given that this week will be the Harvest session, both Derek and Mike were using up a few songs a week early relating to other timely events. Derek's first contribution was The Gresford Disaster (Roud 3089) which took place on 22 September 1934.

Mike added The Heights of Alma to mark the Battle of Alma (20 September 1854). Derek's next was Kevin Barry, marking 20 September 1920 when the titular Irish republican was involved in an ambush by IRA volunteers on a British army truck, an action which led to his execution in November that year.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Whilst the Rest of Us are Back at Work…

The Monument was erected by
Sir Christopher Wren, to commemorate
the fire of London
Your regular scribe was still on holiday this week, thereby allowing Mike to appropriate Spanish Ladies (Roud 687), albeit in a non-Newfoundlandic format, and subjecting you all once again to the rantings of the Substitute Scribe.

In fact, my last week’s RANT (Railing Against Nonat Tenders) proved to have had an effect, having been read by John, who had attended many sessions at the Bridge in ye olde dayes, and came to sample the new venue.

Our number of performers was also swollen by two newcomers: Geoff, who performed a wide range of predominantly Irish songs, and Zenara who brought with her not only a fine unaccompanied singing voice, but also that scarcest of all folk club assets – an Audience!

When Derek opened with False Lover Won Back (Roud 201, Child 218) one would probably have given reasonable odds that it might turn out to be the longest song of the night. But next to Courting in the Kitchen (Geoff - Laws Q16) and Bruce Campbell’s The Roman Gladiator (Mike) it soon paled into insignificance.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Use it or lose it!

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral (photo Ruaraidh Gillies)
The usual scribe, as known in advance, was away vacationizing, but regrettably far more seats than his were left empty. The club has been surviving in recent weeks on the strength of holiday-making visitors. This week that supply dried up, and may well remain dry till next summer. If the club is to remain viable we need more regulars.

Where else in Bristol on a Friday night can you be treated for free to:

John Conolly’s pastiche of The Roast Beef of Old England depicting Grumpy Old Men (Richard);