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, 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.

Geoff was also in Irish Republican mood with Foggy Dew (Canon Charles O’Neill, Roud 558, Laws O3). John on the other hand moved us over the pond to sing Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues. Phil kept us over there with The Cannonball.

Returning to Ireland, Chris sang Molly Malone (Roud 16932) before Roger's more off-the-wall contribution of The Sexual Life Of A Camel.

Mike suggested that only in Yorkshire could anyone have a battle on 44th March - The Battle Of Sowerby Bridge. He also took exception to Geoff's song, Master McGrath (James Custer), saying that the Irish won all the dog races because they introduced the Italian breed of greyhound to the British Isles.

We were puzzled when Roger sang Happy Birthday to Phil; it wasn't even his birthday. He later explained that he sang it, not because of his well developed sense of the absurd, but in order to ensure he had enough breath to sing Woad (William Hope-Jones).

Richard amused us with the tale of Amos and Martha that is The Yorkshire Couple (Jim Mackie). Steve G reminded me of my old friend from Reading, Donovan fan Mick Hilton, by singing Josie.

Derek gave me a challenge which I have yet to achieve. It has been said that singing Kevin Barry, which he sang earlier can lead to being hanged, and the same goes for McCaffery but having sung both he seems to be surviving pretty well. He only knows of one song which seems to have some evidence of causing such a death - but which is it? The threat is that if I don't find it within two weeks, he will sing it, and he hinted that this would probably not be a good experience.

Having amused us with the works of Les Barker and The Kipper Family through the evening, Lesley returned to a Barker poem for her last, with Voicemail. Finally, the evening was finished off by Derek with Tipping It Up To Nancy (Roud 183, Laws Q2).

Please remember that this Friday's session is our Harvest festival, so songs should be harvest related, even if only tenuously and produce should be brought as extra raffle prizes. You may also need pocketfuls of change of which we can relieve you. This year's good cause will be Bristol Drugs Project. It would be great to make this one of the biggest sessions of the year, so whether you haven't visited us for a while, or are a Dragon virgin, please make an effort to come and support us this week; you may even enjoy it!

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

(Number of people present - 12, of whom 12 performed)

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);

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Tinkers, Bosses and Black Cloth

The Koh-i-Noor diamond before it was re-cut in 1852
It was another great session last week with visitors and irregulars joining us for the evening. Before I go any further I must remember to say, there will be no Dragon Folk Club this Friday (26 August 2016) but we will be back on the following Friday (2 September 2016), so I hope you can come and join in the fun.

Our recent stream of visitors or hopefully first-timers continued with Rod who sang some fine traditional songs. Steve G made his first appearance for a little while, and was later joined by Jo and her husband, Mel. Mel told me they only planned to stay for an hour but enjoyed it so much they stayed for the rest of the evening. We were also joined by Henry, who hasn't been to a Dragon session for quite some time, and he was joined by first-timer Mary.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Manchester or Essex?

Manchester Town Hall
We've been doing really well for visitors recently and last week wasn't an exception being joined by Linda and Dave, who live in Essex but are originally from Manchester and these two locations were taken by some people as a theme for the evening. They visit the area quite frequently so we hope to see them again. Dave, who sings in a barbershop choir as well as at folk clubs, sang us some songs. Linda on the other hand saved herself for a return visit, choosing instead to just weigh us up on this occasion - I don't blame her.

Colin, back from his recent trip, was MC and Derek started off the session with Jamie Douglas (Roud 87, Child 204). He almost gave up singing this song, realising it isn't too long since we had it from him but when Chris said how much she liked it he relented and carried on.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Follow the caravan to Rio

Last weeks session was again well attended and this time everyone was a performer.

We were pleased to welcome newcomers Chris and John, on a weekend away from their West Midlands home with their caravan. Rose and Jonjo also returned this week.

In Colin's absence, Richard had the MCs book for the evening and he put himself on first with The Constant Lovers (Roud 993, Laws O41).

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Groundhog Day?

Photo by Gary Yankech
I was pleased to see some people at The New Inn last week who seemed to have turned up intentionally for the session even though they had no intention of performing. Don't get me wrong, it would have been great if they had been prepared to perform but the fact they were there and said they had enjoyed themselves was excellent.

Colin was MC and Derek, who was first to sing, immediately set a challenge for me, the scribe. He started what because a theme - singing songs which were sung the previous week but in different versions.