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.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Scottish left-overs?

Corncrake
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.

So last week we were back at The Bridge with Colin as MC and Derek started off with the first song: Napoleon's Dream (Roud 1538), and after singing it he exclaimed "they've still got the echo". Indeed despite the addition of a carpet in recent years (though before we previously departed the premises) the room, complete with stone walls, offers a far better acoustic than the bar where we sing at The New Inn.

Tom continued with Let Me Down Easy (Ralph McTell) and Terry C gave us Song For Ireland (Phil Colclough, June Colclough).

Colin admitted his mistake in announcing St Andrew's Day the week before both prematurely and without preparation, so he and Simon, who wasn't present at the previous session, ploughed a Caledonian furrow through the evening. Colin started it off with A Scottish Holiday (JW "Bill" Hill) and Simon kept it straight with Laird Of The Dainty Doonby (Roud 864).

Gary brought a seasonal note with Graeme Miles' When The Snows Of Winter Fall.

Derek had a brief flirtation with the theme of herring singing first about a Jolly Herring of the red variety (Roud 128) and then in a more incidental way with Windy Old Weather (Roud 472). For the second of these Derek no doubt expected Colin to note down the first line in the club's official record, and challenged him to get the spelling right. The first line? Well, it's "As I was fishing near Happisburgh light" - referring to the village in Norfolk whose name is pronounced "Hazeborough".

Tom made a brief excursion into Scotland with Echo Mocks The Corncrake (Roud 2736) which I think I'm correct in saying he acquired from Sylvia Barnes, the same source as Simon's The Handweaver And The Factory Maid (Roud 17771), of which he sings Sylvia's Scottish version of what appears to be an English (possibly Lancashire or Yorkshire?) song. Colin's offering second time round was This Love Will Carry written by Dougie MacLean, whose song, Caledonia was sung by Simon later in the evening.

Terry joined in obliquely with the Scottish theme, singing the Irish song, Red Is The Rose, which is set to the tune of Loch Lomond. I have found the song credited to Tommy Makem for the words but apparently it predates him and Robert Burns for the music but Burns usually if not always adopted traditional tunes, so that was almost certainly a load of rubbish!

There can't be many songs which mention SellotapeTM, much less have it in their title, but Colin found one in the Sellotape Pipers (Margaret Stoddart).

Derek, having given well the previous week, eventually turned his vocal chords to something Scottish this week in the form of The Dowie Dens O' Yarrow (Roud 13, Child 214).

Terry resorted to Scots-Australian Eric Bogle for Leaving Nancy, inspired by his goodbye to his mother as he emigrated to the antipodes.

Colin outlasted Simon with Scottish songs by singing Robert Burns' version of Ye Jacobites By Name (Roud 5517) and finally, to end the evening, Wark O' The Weavers (Roud 374) which sent us all home singing.

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

(Number of people present - 6, of whom 6 performed)

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]

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Jack Elliot, morris and other matters

Jack Elliot of Birtley
We seem to be notching up an extra person each week at the moment, which is a good thing but it was from a very low base three weeks ago, so let's hope there is a jump in numbers soon. If you can't make it any other time in the near future, perhaps you will come along on 2 December, when we are not at our usual venue of The New Inn; we will be at our previous home of The Bridge, Shortwood (BS16 9NG).

Colin was MC and I was a little late, having been caught up in the closure of the ring road, so I am indebted to him for filling me in on the first two songs.

Derek started off the evening with The Oakley Strike Evictions (Tommy Armstrong). I think this may have been the start of Derek's self-imposed theme for the evening: songs connected with Jack Elliot of Birtley.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Remembrance 2016

Thumper and Vera - the two currently flying  Avro Lancasters
(Photo Simon Meeds)
It was small but perfectly formed turn-out for our Remembrance session last Friday. There was a vast array of on-topic songs sung and a few more besides.

But first, I make no apology for repeating an important club notice... On Friday 2 December, the Dragon Folk Club will not be at its usual venue of The New Inn, but rather at its previous venue, The Bridge, Shortwood, BS16 9NG where we will once again enjoy the excellent acoustics of our old room. If you come to the New Inn that night, you will find yourself in the middle of a private party. please help pass this message around our regulars and anyone else who may be considering a visit to the Dragon Folk Club on that evening.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Bonfire Night 2016

NOBODY LOVES ME
'Nobody loves me. I'm going into the garden to eat worms.
Yesterday I ate two smooth ones and one woolly one.'
Before proceeding with the report of last week's session I will get the parish notices out of the way.

This week's session is on 11 November, so it is obviously going to be our Remembrance event. Whetehr you want to sing of war, anti-war, banning bombs, remembrance, poppies (red or white), or anything even vaguely related, this is the week to do it.

A slightly early notice to make sure as many people as possible are aware of it. We will not be at our usual venue of The New Inn on 2 December. Instead we will be at our previous venue, The Bridge, Shortwood. Those of you who have been coming to The Dragon Folk Club for a while will know that we can expect some good acoustics in the stone-walled room at the side of the pub.

So, back to last week. The theme was Bonfire Night and Campfire Songs. With Colin as MC, Derek started us off with the Nottinghamshire / Derbyshire version of a Guy Fawkes night rhyme: "All the little angels are dressed in white".

Monday, 31 October 2016

New Inn and the Deathly Halloweens

The imminence of All Hallows Eve resulted in the welcome appearance of Maggie S with her ancient trusty pumpkin-head (NOT a reference to Mike). It also resulted in a full assortment of songs dealing with Ghoulies, Ghosties and Things that go Bump in the Night (Long Leggedy Beasties were separately represented by Freddie and Indy – sorry Gert!)

This assortment included The Wee Wee Man (Richard - Roud 2865, Child 38), Lowlands (Mike - Roud 681), Binnorie (Leslie - Roud 8, Child 10), Ballad of the 13th Lock (Derek) – believed by the Deputy Scribe, who is composing these lines, to be by James Healy [Ed: The song is in James N Healy's book "The second book of Irish ballads" but I'm not sure that means he wrote it] – and Jim Parker & Muriel Holland’s Dancers of Stanton Drew (Colin).

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Aberfan 50

Rescuers working at the site of the Aberfan disaster
Last week's session had no official theme but one major theme emerged. It was the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster when a colliery spoil tip collapsed, killing 116 children and 28 adults. This inspired many of the songs though some other minor themes also emerged.

Colin was MC and Derek started the Aberfan theme with a song which wasn't written about that disaster but had an appropriate feel: Number Two Top Seam (Roger Watson).

Mike sang a version of Max Boyce's Duw It's Hard with a verse about Aberfan. Geoff sang New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb), ostensibly about a fictional American disaster which, although Geoff didn't realise it when he sung the song, was actually inspired by the Aberfan disaster.