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, 26 July 2017

No discernible thread

Martin Niemöller (Photo: J.D. Noske / Anefo)
It was a pleasant surprise last week to see two people who hadn't joined us for quite a while. Paul was a regular Dragon attendee before he moved some distance away. Robin was also once a regular but hasn't been since 2014, at least partly due to his extreme folk festival attending ways - then I saw him twice in as many days, but that's another story.

Colin was MC and started off the session with Crazy Man Michael (Richard Thompson, Dave Swarbrick) and Geoff followed him singing Dandy Vernon (Michael Snow).

Paul, as is his usual way gave us a collection of self-penned songs. The first of these was Moondance Again, inspired jointly by Van Morrison's famous hit and a beach holiday Paul once had with his wife. For his second song Paul had planned to sing part of his song Then 'Til Now, a nine-verse epic inspired initially by the death of an American blues-man he admired. Each verse details an atrocity experienced by black people in the USA in a different decade of the blues-man's life, starting in the 1920s. Colin suggested he sing all nine verses, and after some discussion Paul decided the sing it in two sections, which he did over his next two turns. His last song of the evening before taking the long and winding road back home was That's All I Know.

Mike's first song of the evening was Working On The New Railroad which Simon followed with Jake Thackray's Isobel Makes Love Upon National Monuments to mark the recent start of the Proms season since the fourth verse of the song refers to the Last Night of the Proms.

Since it's not in the YouTube selection linked below, I must mention Jeannie Robertson's version of The Butcher Boy (also known as Owen Barry - Roud 409, Laws P24), which Derek sang.

Paul showed an interest in another song which Derek sang, The Three Flowers (Roud 9742) which names the said blooms each after an Irish republican: Robert Emmet, Michael Dwyer and Wolfe Tone.

Derek was in turn interested in a song sung by Colin: I Didn't Speak Up by gospel singer, Garth Hewitt. Derek challenged me to research the person whose words are used as the basis for the song:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
The answer is that it was a poem written by German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemöller called First they came...

Geoff lightened the tone with The Sick Note (Pat Cooksey) before Paul sang his final song, which has already been mentioned, and Simon finished off the evening with Laird O' The Dainty Doonby (Roud 864).

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

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

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Mining more songs

Wardley Colliery (Photo: Lee St)
We were joined for the first time in a couple of years or more by Robin in a break from his regular folk festival attendance. There was no official theme but Derek picked up on his own theme from last night, being mining songs mainly from the North East of England.

Colin was MC and started off the evening with The Old Turf Fire (Roud 8215).

Derek was immediately into his mining theme with Sooth Medomsley Strike (Tommy Armstrong, Roud V40590). He followed up with Little Chance (Roud 3385), The Coal Owner And The Pitman's Wife (William Hornsby), In The Bar-room (Roud 3486), Number Two Top Seam (Roger Watson), Rap Her To Bank (Roud 1786) and Jowl Jowl And Listen (Roud 3191).

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Mainly mining

Durham Miners' Gala (Photo: Darrell J Rohl)
Last week's session looked like being similar to the previous one with four people present at the start but over the course of the first few songs our numbers were swelled to a respectable eight. There was no official theme and Colin, in his role as MC, started us off with John of Dreams (Bill Caddick, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky). Colin noted that this was a song often sung by our friend Terry C at our sessions.

Two further songs from Terry C's repertoire were sung, mike, pointing out that he had been singing it longer than Terry, gave us Eric Bogle's No Use For Him and Simon sang Hughie Jones' The Ellan Vannin Tragedy.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Garummph garummph

Coulter's Candy (Photo: alistair fitchett)
In spite of Colin’s suggestion that this week’s title be Scottish Filth, I have chosen the above, to represent the sounds emitted by your Substitute Scribe, who as a result of over-practising for a school musical event (subsequently cancelled) was left with virtually no voice at all.

We welcomed back Tom who at least raised the number of attendees enough for us to be able to make a choice whether to hold a sing-around or a few hands of bridge. Having decided on the former, Colin began with Ian McCalman’s Let’s Recycle, based on events in Midlothian, and hence inadvertently introducing the first Scottish element to the evening.

Tom mercifully continued with Allan Taylor’s Roll on the Day, probably the only song in the canon pitched low enough to allow the suffering SubScribe to join in

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Short Stories

Joe Brown (Photo: Garry Knight)
One of my shorter reports this week I'm afraid but you can at least listen to many of the songs we sang last week by following the link at the bottom.

Eight wasn't a bad turn-out after the last few weeks. Colin as MC started us off with Joyce The Librarian (Peter Skellern, Richard Stilgoe).

Terry sang Pete Coe's The Wizard Of Alderley Edge and Roger gave us I Leave My Heart In An English Garden (Christopher Hassall, Harry Parr Davies).

Chris and Geoff presented a surprisingly well choreographed duet of Summer Wine (Lee Hazlewood) given that it was done on the spur of the moment. Geoff on his own pondered What A Crazy World We're Living In (Alan Klein) and Simon told Dave Sudbury's mainly true story of the King Of Rome.

Mike's first song of the evening, and the last of our first rotation, was Eric Bogle's And Now I'm Easy.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

White Acres

Roger Whittaker (Photo Wilfried Wittkow)
Summer is a time when people head to the hills and beaches or wherever, so we might expect some of our regulars to miss a few weeks but we are here waiting every Friday to welcome all our folky friends, even those we have yet to meet, who are gravitating in the direction of the South West of England, whether they're staying in the Bristol area or just passing through. Please come and swell our ranks, even if it only for one session. Perhaps you'll like us enough to drop in another time when you're down our way, others have.

Colin was MC and started the session of by referring to a new fast food outlet being built in Fishponds, and sang a song he had "collected" from Maggie S: McDonald's Kitchen (Seamus Kennedy).

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Beginning with an end

Humpback Whale
This week's report will be abbreviated and at least initially won't include links to YouTube. This is because I am writing this from a hotel room in Athens. No, I'm not on holiday, and not even on an exotic song-collection trip - it's all to do with my day job I'm afraid. But after a nice and impressively cheap meal I am set up to write some sort of report of last Friday's session, and I will be at the next session on Friday if KLM can get me back in time.

Some present may wonder how I counted 5 present. No the fifth wasn't the club hound, Indy, but the former landlady of The Bridge Inn, who joined us as audience for a few songs - sorry I don't remember her name, I hope she will forgive me. Someone didn't even recognise her - no names there either! ;-)