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.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The punk tradition - for a change

The boy from county hell
(painting by Brian Whelan,
subject Shane MacGowan)
While we were short on numbers last week, we were not short on enthusiasm and at least one person said at the end of the evening how good it had been.

Colin was MC and started off with a song he seemed to have only come across recently but at least two of us sang along with him, so perhaps he was the only one who didn't know it? The song in question was the Lyke Wake Dirge (Roud 8194). While Colin cited the Pentangle version, Mike mentioned the version by The Young Tradition (linked here). Mike also proudly stated that he has done the Lyke Wake Walk.

We had a couple of notable, themes. The first of themes, started by Geoff, was a fairly conventional one for a folk club, being the songs of Bob Dylan. Geoff sang Just Like A Woman and John P followed up immediately with Bob Dylan's Dream. The latter being noted as taking the tune of Lady Franklin's Lament (sung a couple of weeks before by Simon). According to Mike, Dylan foolishly tried to sue someone for singing the original, traditional song to "his" tune. Much later in the evening John P sang Percy's Song (Bob Dylan).

Mike harked back just a few days to 14 May with The Bonny Black Hare (Roud 1656) while Simon sang of The Galway Shawl (Roud 2737).

And so it came round very quickly all evening.

I think you would say it was John P who started off the other major theme, one that shows that anything is acceptable at Dragon Folk Club, as long as it's acoustic. The theme seemed to be songs and in one case a poem, that were to a greater or lesser extent from "the punk tradition". John P's first was Between The Wars (Billy Bragg).

While not exactly punk (I assume), Mike's follow up was at least to some extent appropriately contrary, being this parody of English Country Garden. Simon's educational The Apostrophe Song (Shaun McNicholas) reminds me in style of something by former, sometimes anarcho-punk, band Chumbawamba. Next on theme came John P with Tom Robinson's Martin.

Geoff joined this theme with The Stranglers' beautiful, if heroin-inspired Golden Brown (Hugh Cornwell, Jean-Jacques Burnel, Dave Greenfield, Jet Black). John P, not finished yet, successfully dragged out of the depths of his memory Attila the Stockbroker's Russians In McDonalds.

Geoff responded with The Jam's Eton Rifles (Paul Weller) and John P came back with The Pogues' Body Of An American (Shane MacGowan) and again with Navigator (Phil Gaston) from the singing of the same band.

That being about the limit of punk for the evening, Geoff finished the session off with The Last Thing On My Mind (Tom Paxton).

Don't worry, the evening wasn't all punk, there being a good selection of traditional and non-traditional folk as well. Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.

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

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Striding through May

St Constantine's Church, Constantine, Cornwall
(Photo: Vernon White)
While we didn't quite hit the heady heights of the previous week's attendance, eight didn't seem too bad last week. There was no official theme though some people were carrying through the May theme from previous weeks.

Colin was MC and generously put himself on first. He broke the ice with Steve Knightley's Man In Green to mark the previous weekend's Jack in the Green procession in Bristol.

Derek fulfilled the promise I made in the previous blog report, that he would sing a version of the song Hal an Tow (Roud 1520), used on Helston, Cornwall's May Flora Day, but this time the one used in neighbouring Constantine (sorry I couldn't find a recording of Constantine).

Thursday, 11 May 2017

New Faces for May

Photo: Nikki T
I often say how great a session was in the report and I always mean it but last week was rather special. At the beginning of the evening we assembled as seven regulars, which would have been quite respectable but then a trickle of people started to file into our room, finally making up seven members of the Island Folk Choir. We were very pleased that as well as sharing some of their group singing, several members performed solo and in small groups.

As usual, Colin was MC and he started off the evening and the theme of "May" by singing Pleasant Month Of May (Roud 153); all of Colin's songs of the evening had May connections, however tenuous.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Seven Seas

Kaskelot in Bristol (Photo: Simon Meeds)
Last week's session got off to a slow start. Parking was unusually busy outside The Bridge Inn, so I wasn't early but was only the third to arrive. We had a pleasant chat and I think were about to decide whether to stay or go when Steve C arrived just on cue. At a grand total of four we were quorate and after some more procrastination we got the evening going.

Colin was MC and he started us off with So Long It's Been Good To Know You (Woody Guthrie, Roud 15161). With no theme we didn't really know what was coming next and despite being small in number we managed to come up with quite an eclectic mix of music for the evening. Some songs were intentionally aimed at a May theme and others accidentally hit that spot. Nevertheless, our official May themed session will be this week (Friday 5 May).

Friday, 28 April 2017

St George's Day 2017

Raphael - Saint George and the Dragon, 1506
It was good to see Maggie S at last week's session, and we were joined by two very welcome visitors from Yorkshire who didn't want to sing but did want to publicise the Cleckheaton Folk Festival which takes place in June/July, so there we are, I've done it. It will also appear on our links page.

It was two days before St George's day so the theme was George, England, dragons and anything else that seemed appropriate.

Colin as MC asked Steve C to start us off which he did with Jock Stewart (Roud 975) which wasn't exactly to theme but we don't mind that.

Derek had other plans for the evening's theme but started off with a token song from Norfolk: The Bailiff's Daughter Of Islington (Roud 483, Child 105).

Colin was first to really hit the theme will full force, singing Billy Bragg's Hard Times Of Old England Retold.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Deaths, Resurrections and a Rising

Photo: JarosÅ‚aw Pocztarski
This week’s session was rather curtailed, not by the small number present, but because of the discovery by the landlord of an ancient piece of pub lore which apparently reads:
If it be Good Friday, then
We shut at half-past bloody ten!
So with the pressure of attempting a record number of songs in a night taken from our shoulders, and without the Regular Scribe to produce definitive answers from the Internet, the conversation was able to range wide – as wide in fact as from Fred Jordan’s opinion of George Stubbs to discrepancies between the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls as to the number of apostles.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A bit of fun

Last week's session had not a bad turn-out despite the absence of some regulars. We had three second-time visitors: John O and Chris O were once again in the area for a weekend's caravanning, which is to be encouraged (they previously visited in August 2016), and John B2 (to differentiate from our regular but absent John B) once again came with Phil (he last visited in October 2016). There was no official theme.

Colin was MC and started off with Richard Digance's What's The Use Of Anything.

Our fourth visitor of the evening, Richard, was known to Colin but was, as far as I am aware, a Dragon virgin. He was surprised to be called on so early, thinking that we might pass the baton around the room, whereas, subject to the MC's discretion, we usually take turns by order of arrival. Nevertheless, he gathered himself together and sang Sydney Carter's Lord Of The Dance.