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, 23 May 2018

Royal Wedding or When Harry met Meghan


The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan
(Photo: Implausibleblog)
Last week's session had no official theme but Colin, as MC, immediately declared that he would be singing some wedding songs to mark the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan. Despite some mutterings from our republican contingent everyone present in the end contributed to the theme.

Colin started us off in a wedding direction with Here's To The Couple (JN Maselwa, Pete Seeger) and carried on despite no one initially joining him, with Mairi's Wedding (John Roderick Bannerman, Sir Hugh Roberton), modified for the occasion to Harry's Wedding.

Derek's first obvious contribution to the marriage theme was Lord Thomas And Fair Annet (Roud 4, Child 73) which could be said to have some relevance in including a "brown girl" though that would originally have meant a lady less desirable because she works outdoors. Once on the theme though there was no stopping Derek, whose next song was False Lover Won Back (Roud 201, Child 218).

Keeping up the run on Child ballads, Simon claimed a tenuous spousal link in Geordie (Roud 90, Child 209).

Mike finally capitulated with an apparently naval parody of Side By Side (original by Harry M Woods). Colin continued in a similar style with Get Me To The Church On Time (Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner).

Derek soldiered on, singing Another Man's Wedding (Roud 567, Laws P31). He may use another of the many titles, including possibly Orange And Blue, but the closest version I found to the words he sang unfortunately doesn't include that line.

Mike referred to Prince Harry's support of the Invictus Games by singing Martin Graebe's song, Peter's Private Army as Harry's...

Geoff maybe first dipped his toe into nuptials, or rather the reverse with Billy Connolly's parody of the Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman song, D.I.V.O.R.C.E. but he got well stuck in with Flash Bang Wallop (David Heneker).

Simon mangled one of his Michelle Shocked repertoire to give us The Ballad Of Patch Eye And "Meghan".

By the time he sang The Keeper (Roud 1519) Colin seemed to think he had run out of wedding songs but Derek cited a theory that the song is about the fates of Henry VIII's wives. I haven't managed to confirm that nor the other question, of it's geographical origin, that was raised, but I have traced the earliest known reference to the song in a Broadside of between 1689 and 1709. The next reference to the song introduces the well known call-and-answer chorus. As for the wives of Henry VIII, most who comment seem to think the song is about women rather than deer and that it was at least bawdy enough to be censored by 19th and early 20th century collectors, becoming as it did eventually a song sung by even the youngest school children.

Talking of bawdy, Derek's last song was Nine Times A Night (Roud 18411) and this was followed by the last hurrah of the evening in the shape of Simon singing She Moved Through The Fair (Roud 861).

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

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

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The importance of visitors

Constantine Parish Church, Cornwall (Photo: Tim Green)
Last week's session may have no theme but it certainly saw a decent turnout at the Dragon Folk Club. There's no theme again this week so I hope we can expect the same again.

We were treated to the second visit in a fortnight by the wanderers from Yorkshire, Malcolm and Janet (yes, I've now learned her name though I understand she liked being called "Malcolm's lady"). They brought along a West Midlands contingent in the form of  Dragon first-timers, Steve and Denise.

Colin, being MC as usual, started us off with Ben Backstay (Roud 21256).

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

May Day 2018

Padstow 'Obby 'Oss (Photo: Bryan Ledgard)
Last week's session had the theme of May, being our closest to the first of that month. So we roved out with Colin, our MC, who started the evening off with the Pleasant Month Of May (Roud 153).

Mike led us on our customary journey to Helston in Cornwall with Hal An Tow (Roud 1520) and Colin took us 40 miles North East to Padstow, singing the Padstow Morning Song (Roud 305). Towards the end of the evening Colin sang another song with Padstow connections, though also known in other areas of the country including Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire; this was the May Day Carol (Roud 305).

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

St George's Day 2018


We had an excellent turn-out for last week's St George's Day themed session. This Friday's theme (4 May) will be appropriately themed for May songs.

Last week we were pleased to see semi-regulars, Steve C and Jane and it was great to welcome again Malcolm and his lady, whose name I'm afraid to say I still haven't captured, on one of their occasional visits to Bristol from their home in Yorkshire.

Colin was, as usual, MC and he started the evening off with Richard Thompson's The New Saint George. This wasn't the only Thompson song of the evening for John P gave us Albion Sunrise.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Anzacs, a story of two Bostons and space oddities


The dock at Boston, Lincolnshire
Last week's session was originally to have been the proxy St George's Day but it has been moved to this week, so get your George, dragon and England songs, tunes, poems and stories out this Friday and come along to the Bridge. If you need any more inspiration, apart from England, St George is patron saint of:
agricultural workers; Amersfoort, Netherlands; Aragon; archers; armourers; Bavaria, Germany; Beirut, Lebanon; Bulgaria; Bulgarian Army; Cáceres, Spain; Cappadocia; Castilla y León; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Corinthians (Brazilian football team); Crusaders; equestrians; Ethiopia; farmers; Ferrara, Italy; field workers; Freiburg, Germany; Genoa; Georgia; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Germany; Heide; horsemen; horses; knights; lepers and leprosy; Lithuania; Lod; London; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Montenegro; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Piran, Italy; Portugal; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Ptuj, Slovenia; Reggio Calabria; riders; Romani people; saddle makers; Serbia; Scouts; sheep; shepherds; skin diseases; Slovenia; soldiers; and Teutonic Knights.
Back to last week, Colin was MC and started of with Utah Phillips' All Used Up.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

They've come to take me away

Ambulance (thanks to anyjazz65)
An interesting session last week had a variety of mini-themes and outliers. Before settling down to a report I must inform you that our St George's Day session has been postponed, so this week's session (20 April) will have no theme and it is next week (27 April), when you are invited to bring all your material relating to England, St George, dragons and anything else that may seem relevant.

Back to last week, there was no official theme but Colin, while efficiently filling his role as MC, took upon himself a theme of songs written by our old friend, Richard Gillion, most of which took superstitions as their subject, it being Friday 13th.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Hunting for pet hates

Headstone of John Peel in the churchyard of
St Kentigern's Church,
Caldbeck, Wigton, Cumbria, UK
(Photo: Mark W Barker)
Last week's session had no official theme. Fewer songs were sung than usual as for a change, and quite unplanned, the whole of the second half was given over to chat, mainly about driving tests and riding motorbikes. Normal service will no doubt be restored this week.

Nevertheless, a good range of material was aired in the first half. Colin was MC and started us off with Gentlemen Of High Renown (Roud 190), singing the Copper Family's words to Martin Carthy's tune. Mike's attempt at following the hunting theme had to be delayed when he initially forgot the tune to The Hounds Are Out (Roud 24901).

While Mike was struggling, Derek offered to help, suggesting at one stage that he might be thinking of John Peel. Mike told us how his class at school had to sing that song and while he was in the choir others were not so proficient and the awful sound they made put him off singing for ten years until he joined a rock and roll band. Derek therefore dug deep to give us a rendition of The Old John Peel, just to annoy Mike. Derek carried on the theme with The Horn Of The Hunter (Roud 1859, Jackson Gillbanks) from the singing of Fred Jordan but he was foiled because it turned out that Mike likes that song.