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.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

The sound of silence

No, not an intimation that someone sang Mr Simon’s popular ditty of the 1960s; nor yet did a passing musician drop in to perform John Cage’s 4’33’’ (a work that should surely be incorporated into the repertoire of so many guitarists).

The title above is in fact a full and detailed record of the songs sung and music played by the three people who arrived for this week’s session. Even Indie didn’t believe it was worth his while to attempt to vocalise to an audience that numbered less than his legs.

We will meet again this Friday. What happens then, and from then on, will depend upon what support folkies in the area are willing to show.

(Number of people present - 3, of whom 0 performed)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Here We Arrrrrrrrrr Again

Tuesday 19th being International Talk Like a Pirate Day your Substitute Scribe was shocked to discover that his own rendition of Phil Tanner’s version of Henry Martin (Child 250) was the only piratical event of the evening. 

The session began with Colin singing Droylesden Wakes, which he entirely failed to record in the Book as Dreighlsdin Wakes, which was its original title before it was rendered into ‘more gradely English’!

A couple of unusual partnerships should perhaps be recorded in case they one day prove to have been the birth of a pair of world renowned Super Groups. Firstly John B, having arrived with not only his trusty bodhran but also an Egg Shaker which he had bought that afternoon and was anxious to try out, asked Colin to accompany him on guitar whilst he sang Australian Slim Dusty’s Pub With No Beer. Secondly Derek, when singing Jarama Valley (Alex McDade), asked Roger, who had earlier both sung and played Red River Valley, to reprise his harmonica part as an accompaniment.

Geoff recalled having recently sung a version of Polly Vaughan he had learnt from a recording of The Overlanders before they abandoned folk music to become a pop group. This time he sang another song from the same source – I Gave My Love a Cherry. Derek pointed out that this song was an American fragment of the longer ballad Riddles Wisely Expounded (Child 1), and then went on to sing Ann of the Loch Royal (Child 76) which underwent the same transformation to become the American song Who’s Going to Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet; he also, with Geoff’s permission, sang another version of Polly Vaughan, collected by Robin Morton under the name of Molly Bann Lowry from the Ulster farmer John Maguire.

Chris’s songs included Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny Doon (words by Robert Burns, tune by Jimmy Miller – NO! Not Ewan McColl!) and Shenandoah, as well as a version of Seventeen Come Sunday which Geoff identified as being exactly the same version he knows, leading to a further discussion of sources of songs and the variations created.

Amongst John B’s other songs were Hank Williams’ much covered Your Cheating Heart, which Williams claimed had been ‘inspired’ by his ex wife, and a version of Corrina Corrina which included verses from the 1920s version by Armenter Chatmon, rather than just the more usual versions by Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan.

With all due deference to Chris, Roger sang Willy Nelson’s To All the Girls I have Loved Before. He also sang a very clean version of Godfrey and Kewley’s Bless 'em All owing less to the barrack room and more to George Formby Jr., and a music-hall medley of Old Bull and Bush and Let’s All Go to the Music-hall.

Other songs featured included Cliff Richard’s Time Drags On (a song with so many writers they must have written two words each!), The Ballad of High Noon (winner of an Oscar in the year your Substitute Scribe was born) – both by Geoff – and God Speed the Plough along with a finisher of Cyril Tawney’s tribute to egg on toast Chicken on a Raft (both Colin).

IMPORTANT BIT : Last week’s charity raffle for Shelter raised £25. Thanks to all who bought tickets or brought prizes.

Finally a plug for something local, which was mentioned in the course of the evening by both John B and Roger. There is in Fishponds an organisation called The People’s University of Fishponds which runs talks, workshops and events in the Kingfisher Café, some of which are music related. For more details go to https://www.peoplesuniversityoffishponds.com/

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

Monday, 11 September 2017

A touch agricultural

(Photo: администрация Волгоградской области)
For those of us who remember the halcyon days of Dragon Harvest Night with tables groaning under the weight of freshly grown or at least freshly purchased comestibles, and the assembled masses groaning under the weight of fines from Mike for breathing out of tune (or just for breathing), it was very sad to see the tiny turnout for this week’s charity evening – 5 performers, and one visitor  who sat through one complete round before deciding she had left her life elsewhere and went off to look for it.

But we are the Tradition, and the Tradition goes on in lean times in the hope they will again lean the other way. So there will be a small donation going the way of Shelter; precise details of the amount will appear here next week.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A cornucopia of themes

Barley (Photo: coniferconifer)
Last week's session was better attended than some recent ones but we still need more of you to come and join us. You never know, you may actually enjoy it despite what they say. This session seemed particularly packed with the unusual, the thought provoking, the entertaining and the random!

Colin was MC and kicked us off with Bob Dylan's Sara. In fact Dylan became one of several themes for the evening. John P's contribution was the long and perplexing Bob Dylan's 115th Dream. Simon eventually added The Mighty Quinn.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Do your research

Beacon at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool
Last week's session was light on people but weighty on songs and on learned chat. I have limited time and one or two promised follow-ups to cover, so please forgive me if I'm a little light on collected recordings again this week.

First an announcement... the Harvest session will be on 8 September. Not only does that mean a harvest theme to as many songs and tunes as possible but also a special raffle. Please bring produce which can be offered as prizes and pockets full of change for the raffle and any random collections that may take place. Proceeds this year will go to Shelter, a charity that Dragon regular, Roger has previously supported with his own musical evenings.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Singing Together

BBC Singing Together
In the unlikely event that the Substitute Scribe has any readers from among the Younger Generation he apologises to them for the obscurity of this week's title. Singing Together was an educational programme back in the days when the only multimedia presentations for school students were delivered by moving a 'portable' (i.e. capable of being lifted by two people) Bakelite radio from room to room.

For many of us, it was our first introduction to folk music, and it was remembered this week when Colin sang Grey Hawk (Roud 293), a song Derek recalled voting for (the only one in his class who did) at the end of term Eurovision Song Contest type vote for best song. John P then recalled from the same source, and sang, Lincolnshire Poacher (Roud 299).

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Colourful session

(Photo: jagerm)
A quick and dirty report this week on last week's session I'm afraid because there's a lot going on at home for this scribe. Don't worry, nothing bad, just a bit hectic.

We assembled as a perfectly respectable eight singers and Colin was back from his holidays, so he took back the club accoutrements and the mantle of MC for the evening.

Miraculously, Simon had turned up first and so got to sing first, giving us Dave Sudbury's King Of Rome. Colin, freshly inspired no doubt by a visit to Sidmouth Folk Week, sang The Reason I Left Mullingar (Pat Cooksey).