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.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Just Harping On

Photo: Bart Hanlon
Yes, you read correctly at the bottom of this post, we were only five at last week's session, in fact we were really "four twice" as my grandmother used to say about a family that lost a child and gained a new one soon after. We really need to see some new faces, and for some of you old hands to come and join us. Yes, I know we have a reasonable number of regulars but it only takes a few to have something else on and we are down to a skeleton crew. We didn't even hold our "famous" raffle, so you can tell that things were bad.

Nevertheless we had a pretty good evening with some of us singing unusual songs around the edge of our repertoires which made for some excitement.

Colin was MC and Derek started us off by taking up his own self-imposed theme of harps. His first song on this theme was The Minstrel Boy (Thomas Moore - Roud 13867). Derek continued his theme with another from Thomas Moore, The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls (Roud 13392), impressively remembered from childhood and apparently not sung since. Next came The Twa Sisters (Roud 8, Child 10). The Ballad Of James Larkin (Donagh McDonagh) was next and generated some interest for it's phrase "The harp was buried beneath the crown", which reminded Mike of a shanty called The Harp Without A Crown, which he said was a puzzle because, while it seems to be a true shanty, it cannot be traced to any period earlier than the very last days of sail in the early 20th century. Derek's final harp contribution was a funny story of a man who died and went to heaven and became "chocker with harpin'".

Colin gave us Jim Stewart's Winter Shanty. Simon invoked another type of weather event with The Plover Catcher (Elizabeth Padgett) "Welland's flooded wash", expressing concern for the tidal surge expected all along the Lincolnshire coast and more generally the Eastern coast of England (thankfully it passed without serious incident).

Mike referred twice to Paul Simon, first lamenting that some people think the traditional Scarborough Fair (Roud 12, Child 2) is considered by some to be a song he wrote, and that it is rarely sung as a challenge and response, as in this version by Marianne Faithfull, although it's not as obvious here as it might be since she missed the key verse that links the two halves. The second mention of Paul Simon came when Mike sang The Folker, made famous by Fred Wedlock, who incidentally taught Mike English at school (Mike claims that in fact Fred taught him Brizzle while he taught Fred Glot'r). Some discussion ensued about who wrote the song, it being well known that Fred "borrowed" many songs without crediting the original authors. The final conclusion was that the author of this one was Keith Christmas, who by coincidence, Derek knew from his schooldays.

The evening came to a slightly ramshackle but timely end with the arrival of several lads from the bar (not entirely uninvited). One tried to sing The KooksNaïve (Paul Garred, Hugh Harris, Luke Pritchard, Max Rafferty) to the music coming from his phone but forgot the words, and he and another "helped" Henry sing one of his own songs, Love Broke Us Apart. Finally, in an attempt to sing something everyone might know, Simon gave us Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Pete Seeger, Joe Hickerson), which finished off the evening.

Whatever you perform, as long as it's acoustic, you would be very welcome to join us this Friday. And if you don't perform, your presence as audience would be equally welcome.

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

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

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

New Year 2017

The Bridge Inn, Shortwood; our new venue(photo: Jonathan Billinger)
Last Friday was our first session back in our new, old venue, The Bridge Inn at Shortwood (BS16 9NG). Expect us to be there every Friday night from 8:15pm unless otherwise posted on this blog and the Facebook group.

Before I get down to last week's report I was asked to mention one "parish notice". Roger and John have hired the Kingfisher Café in Fishponds on Thursday 26 January from 8pm to 9:30pm for anyone to come and sing, play, read poetry or anything within reason in aid of the CLIC Sargent charity, specifically to help the charity deal with the fire that damaged its shop at Fishponds in December. CLIC Sargent supports children and young people with cancer.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

End of an era and start of another

Last night at The New Inn Westerleigh
This report has been a long time coming since Christmas and New Year and some other commitments got in the way. It is of a session held on 16 December 2016 at The New Inn, Westerleigh. And that is an important point to start on. Our next session, on Friday 6 January 2017 will be at our new venue, The Bridge Inn, Shortwood (BS16 9NG). If you haven't been there before you can find directions and a map here. It was actually our venue from 1995 to 2014, so it is familiar to many of our regulars and visitors, who will also be aware of the excellent acoustics, so we are hoping for lots of good singing and playing at future sessions This is now our new permanent home.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Happy Christmas and into the New Year

Photo by open-arms
For various reasons it's unlikely that the report on last week's session (16 December) will be published before Christmas so I wanted to make an interim announcement to restate some important notices and announce formally for the first time one very important one.

  • Friday 23 December 2016 - there will be no session
  • Friday 30 December 2016 - there will be no session
  • Friday 6 January 2017 - will be the first session of the New Year and will herald a change of venue!!!

Our new venue for 2017 will in fact be an old friend. Between 1995 and 2014 we met at The Bridge Inn, Shortwood, Bristol BS16 9NG and that is where we will return from 6 January 2017. The room provides excellent acoustics. The pub's car park is small but it is also possible to park along Bridge Road, which is the dead end road passing in front of the pub.

If you haven't been to The Bridge before and you will be arriving along the Bristol ring road (A4174) you will need to leave the dual carriageway onto the B4465 for Pucklechurch. Carry on up the hill for about 0.6 mile and take the first right onto Shortwood Hill, signposted "Shortwood". Continue down the hill for about 0.6 mile and take the first left, just before the bridge back over the ring road, into Bridge Road. The Bridge Inn is immediately on your left. Approaches from Mangotsfield and Pucklechurch are probably more obvious but let us know if you foresee any difficulties. There is a map below which may also help.

Finally, I would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year from everyone at The Dragon Folk Club. We hope to see you at a session soon whether you sing, play an instrument, tell a story or simply come along to enjoy the fun. Any type of music is always accepted as long as it's acoustic (i.e. unplugged).

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Photo: Nick Webb
Our Christmas session didn't get off to a good start. When I arrived we were based on the cold, dark patio and definitely not singing. One person had already given up and gone home and Colin was threatening not to have a session the next week (this week, 16 December).

The reason for this turmoil was that a wake was taking place in our usual bar and a children's party in the main bar. Eventually the wake finished and we were allowed in. We actually got started before 9 o'clock and despite competing with the children's disco for the first few songs things soon quietened down, so despite possible rumours, there will be a session this Friday at The New Inn. Remember though that we will not meet on 23 and 30 December, so the next Dragon Folk Club session after 16/12 will be on 6 January. More details of that will come out later this week, so please be sure to be at this week's session, or failing that read the blog or any announcements that may appear on our Facebook page in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Scottish left-overs?

Parish notices first. After a week at old venue of The Bridge, we are back at The New Inn, Westerleigh this week (9 December) for a low-key Christmas session. Songs might be Christmas, bah humbug, or anywhere in between. There may even be some seasonal nibbles but I won't promise anything at this stage.

Next week (16 December) there should also be a session at The New Inn - see next week's blog report for more details. However there will be no sessions on 23 or 30 December. The first session of 2017 will be on 6 January but you'll have to wait for more details of that one as well. Sorry to be mysterious but there really is some uncertainty around at the moment, so please bear with me.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A Kist o’Tales

Heckmondwike English Concertina Premier Prize Band 1909
Before we deal with this week’s events I need to convey two important messages, one relating to the previous meeting, and one to the next.

Firstly it would appear that last week the Regular Scribe (whose humble servant addresses you herewith) should have attributed the Last Shanty sung by Mike to Tom Lewis, and not to any other individual who (according to one of this week’s stories, of which more shortly) might have a small copyright hang-up.

[RS: In my defence, I was not present for the singing of the said song, and it appears I may have misunderstood the message given to me by Colin about the song Mike sang last week]