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, 22 March 2017

St Patrick's Day - 2017

Chicago River dyed green for St Patrick's Day 2015
Photo by Scott M Liebenson
No excuses this time, our session really was on St Patrick's Day and most of us managed at least some Irish songs though I'm not sure we answered Gary's challenge from the week before to name some decent Irish song writers from the last 50 (was it?) years.

With the absence of several regulars it was good to be joined by Steve G, who drops in occasionally, and Paul, who is a rare sight since his move to the wilds of Somerset.

Colin as MC put himself on first and sang Galway Farmer (Steve Knightley), an appropriate celebration of the Cheltenham Festival which usually coincides with St Patrick's Day and is therefore a honeypot for Irish owners, riders and punters.

Steve G followed up with the Saw Doctors' Green And Red Of Mayo (Jarir Al-Majar, Leo Moran, Davy Carton).

Paul, as is his wont, sang and played several of his own songs. For several he manufactured spurious Irish connections and tales but we'll five him that. A certain similarity was suggested by Colin to the vocal and playing style of Mike Scott, though generally without Mike's comedy angle. Paul's songs for the evening weer Fragile Bodies about the mourners at a funeral, Not Loving You which is, I think about unrequited love if I can untangle the spurious story, Clock Tower, about his childhood meeting place in Keynsham, and Hedges which captures the feeling of his scenic route from work to home via the Chew Valley Lake.

Phil's first of the evening was The Cannonball and John B's was Danny Boy. Luckily for him Maggie S was not present since it is one of her least favourite songs. It's also worth noting that while it is associated with Ireland and the melody is Irish (Londonderry Air), the words were written by Englishman Frederic Weatherly who is a local to us, having been born and brought up in nearby Portishead.

Simon returned safely to Ireland though with a sprinkling of the antipodes in the words of Muirsheen Durkin. Mike's contribution was maybe slightly less authentic being the parodic Oh No, Not The Fields Of Athenry.

I will attempt to list the Irish and Irish-connected songs out of the rest of the session. Forgive me if I miss any:
And finally, Simon finished off the evening with The Galway Shawl (Roud 2737).

I won't be at next week's session but I understand it will be themeless, so dig out all your songs from dusty corners that won't fit any specialist subject, or sing anything you like really. My place on the blog writing will be taken by a new alternative deputy, so please be gentle with him and I'm sure he'll do a fine job just be sure to turn up and sing or play so that he has something to write about.

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

(Number of people present - 7, of whom 7 performed)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Bits and Bobs

The Richard Oastler pub, a former chapel, in Brighouse
mentioned in the first song of the evening
Last week's Dragon Folk Club session had no theme so the songs reasonably ranged widely. It was good to see John P come along for his second dose of the club - we obviously didn't frighten him too much the previous week, and it was good to see Gary for the first time in a while.

Colin was the MC and he started us off, before Gary's arrival, with a song from his repertoire as well as that of the late Alan Mitchell: Brighouse On A Saturday Night (Roger Davies).

Geoff won't be with us for the St Patrick's Day session this Friday (take a note for your diary), so he took Ireland as his personal theme for the night, his first being The Patriot Game (Dominic Behan). John P was also in Irish mode with Star Of The County Down (Cathal McGarvey).

Thursday, 9 March 2017

St David's Day 2017

Depiction of the Rebecca Riots,
Illustrated London News 1843
It was good to see a new face at last week's session. Geoff brought John P along - this sort of behaviour is to be encouraged. While John had never sung at a folk club before he certainly came prepared with Welsh songs to fit our theme, and had a selection of other material once he had run out. Well done John, we look forward to seeing you again very soon.

If you're considering coming to the Dragon Folk Club for the first time, don't think we expect you to come prepared like John with lots of material; of course that would be great but by all means come along to suss us out before attempting to sing or play on a subsequent visit, or indeed come along even if you have no intention of ever performing. We're a pretty friendly bunch and welcome singers and musicians of any standard or none!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Carter's Lads and Lasses?

The Carter Family
While last week's turn-out of six at our session doesn't on first glance seem much of a triumph it wasn't bad considering that two of our regulars were off pursuing their other interests and a third was sorely missed.

As I write, it is St David's Day, and following today this Friday's Dragon Folk Club session (3 March 2016) will celebrate all that is Welsh - well, I suspect that there will songs which stretch the definition of celebration, but you get the gist.

Back to last Friday, there was no official theme and as usual Colin was MC. John kicked us off with his own composition: The Bridge Inn Blues.

I'm not quite sure what Colin's message was when he sang Please Do Not Get Offended (William B Glenroy). William B Glenroy's real name was William B Gray, and he was co-author of another song which we hear occasionally: The Volunteer Organist.

Friday, 24 February 2017

To far Amerikay and back

Vicky and Richard (Cooper and Toller)
There were 12 people at last week's Dragon Folk Club session, which is much more like it than recently. We welcomed Tony and Hillary back after a break, albeit that their visit was short and sweet. We were also pleased to see Vicky and Richard (Cooper and Toller) back for a second visit - we hope there are many more to come.

First the parish notices: this Friday (24 February) we need all the support we can muster since two of our regulars won't be around. If you haven't been to see us for a while or even have never been before, this is the time to find your way to The Bridge. Then next week (3 March) is our St David's Day special, so songs and tunes from or about Wales (or by extension usually also whales) will be very welcome though as usual the theme is optional.

Back to last week's report and Colin was MC as usual, getting Geoff to start us off. Geoff told us of an oversized hand gun which Marty Robbins found in a gunshop and sang the song which came from that occasion: Big Iron. This started a flurry of American songs.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Valentine's Day 2017 and Trimdon Grange + 135

Tommy Armstrong
The report will be short and sweet this week since I've ended up writing at the last moment. Last week's session was themed Love and Lust for Valentine's Day. While we were small in number we were strong in voice, and joined as we were by our friends Joe and Josci, who we hadn't seen for some time.

Colin was MC and started off with a version of Clementine which was sung as Valentine. I haven't found any mention of it on the web, so all I can say about it with any confidence is that the first line is "In North Walsham by the cobbler's".

As you might expect there was some smut, including Colin's Bell Bottom Trousers (Roud 20105) and Simon's Big Bamboo.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

We got the blues

Cliff Carlisle
While last week's session was theme-less, this week's on 10 February, will be our Valentine's special, so the theme will be Love and Lust. Come prepared with song, tunes and whatever other material you fancy along those lines.

Back to last week, Colin was MC and he had Geoff start us off. Geoff's contribution was the first of several blues that we had through the evening, being Winkle Picker Shoes Blues.

Our other bluesy numbers were John with the St James Infirmary Blues (attributed to Joe Primrose and after Roud 2 - The Unfortunate Rake), Phil with Railroad Bill (Roud 4181), John with Black Water Blues (Bessie Smith), Roger, accompanied by Henry, with Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell) and Phil with My Rockin' Mama (Cliff Carlisle).