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.

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.

We had two songs often associated with the Copper Family: Mike's Come Write Me Down (Roud 381) and Derek's When Adam was First Created (Roud 728).

Two songs came from Jake Thackray's repertoire: Colin's Brother Gorilla (Jake Thackray's translation of Georges Brassens) and Simon's Isobel Makes Love On National Monuments (Jake Thackray).

Another two songs were from Ewan MacColl: Colin's Sweet Thames Flow Softly (Ewan MacColl) and Joe's The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Ewan MacColl) . Incidentally, contrary to the linked video, Ewan MacColl was from Salford rather than from Scotland though his parents were Scottish. Peggy Seeger is the half-sister of Pete Seeger.

We learned that it was in fact Joe's birthday, so Josci, who wasn't intending to sing, was persuaded to lead us in Happy Birthday, meaning that everyone present sang at least one song.

Derek took a small diversion from the theme to mark the 135th anniversary of the Trimdon Grange Explosion (Roud 3189, Tommy Armstrong).

It was also Derek who finished off the evening as Colin started it, with a song I have struggled to trace. Presumably this WWII song is based on it but instead of the paratrooper, Derek's chorus says she wears a silken garter "for a soldier laddie far, far away".

There will be no theme this week, so come and sing or play whatever takes your fancy. It's always fun to make ad hoc themes, or for them to emerge unintentionally during the evening, so let's see what happens.

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

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

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).

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Burns' Night 2017

reconstructed head of Burns
Finally a respectable quorum for this year's Burns' Night session. That is it was our Burns and Scotland themed session which took place two days after Burns' Night. In fact the attendance was so numerous that it even deserved three raffle prizes!

As always at The Dragon Folk Club, the theme was optional, so there was plenty of variety. Colin was MC and he started off proceedings with a comic offering from Captain BeakyThe Haggis Season (Jeremy Lloyd, Jim Parker).

I won't get into the debate about which songs and poems Robert Burns wrote, which he collected and which he stole, so please read anything in this blog post which claims to be by Burns as being any one of those options.

Roger recited The Banks O' Doon (Roud 13889 - Robert Burns) as a poem and Chris gave us the Eriskay Love Lilt (I grew up to that version by Judith Durham).

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Presidential Inauguration

The Mayor of Trumpton
A sadly low turn-out again for last week's session but at least we were five in the first half of the evening and there was some interesting back and forth of ad hoc themes. There was no official theme but this Wednesday is Burns' Night, so this Friday's theme (27 January) is all things Scottish or Burns - your presence is required.

The most popular mini-theme last week was the inauguration of President Trump. Some songs were thought appropriate and others were simply modified to fit. Colin was MC.

Steve C started the evening off with Old Shep (Red Foley). It was the song Elvis Presley sang at his first public performance, aged 10 on 3 October 1945 at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Just Harping On

Photo: Bart Hanlon
Yes, you read correctly at the bottom of this post, we were only five at last week's session, in fact we were really "four twice" as my grandmother used to say about a family that lost a child and gained a new one soon after. We really need to see some new faces, and for some of you old hands to come and join us. Yes, I know we have a reasonable number of regulars but it only takes a few to have something else on and we are down to a skeleton crew. We didn't even hold our "famous" raffle, so you can tell that things were bad.

Nevertheless we had a pretty good evening with some of us singing unusual songs around the edge of our repertoires which made for some excitement.

Colin was MC and Derek started us off by taking up his own self-imposed theme of harps. His first song on this theme was The Minstrel Boy (Thomas Moore - Roud 13867). Derek continued his theme with another from Thomas Moore, The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls (Roud 13392), impressively remembered from childhood and apparently not sung since. Next came The Twa Sisters (Roud 8, Child 10). The Ballad Of James Larkin (Donagh McDonagh) was next and generated some interest for it's phrase "The harp was buried beneath the crown", which reminded Mike of a shanty called The Harp Without A Crown, which he said was a puzzle because, while it seems to be a true shanty, it cannot be traced to any period earlier than the very last days of sail in the early 20th century. Derek's final harp contribution was a funny story of a man who died and went to heaven and became "chocker with harpin'".

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

New Year 2017

The Bridge Inn, Shortwood; our new venue(photo: Jonathan Billinger)
Last Friday was our first session back in our new, old venue, The Bridge Inn at Shortwood (BS16 9NG). Expect us to be there every Friday night from 8:15pm unless otherwise posted on this blog and the Facebook group.

Before I get down to last week's report I was asked to mention one "parish notice". Roger and John have hired the Kingfisher Café in Fishponds on Thursday 26 January from 8pm to 9:30pm for anyone to come and sing, play, read poetry or anything within reason in aid of the CLIC Sargent charity, specifically to help the charity deal with the fire that damaged its shop at Fishponds in December. CLIC Sargent supports children and young people with cancer.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

End of an era and start of another

Last night at The New Inn Westerleigh
This report has been a long time coming since Christmas and New Year and some other commitments got in the way. It is of a session held on 16 December 2016 at The New Inn, Westerleigh. And that is an important point to start on. Our next session, on Friday 6 January 2017 will be at our new venue, The Bridge Inn, Shortwood (BS16 9NG). If you haven't been there before you can find directions and a map here. It was actually our venue from 1995 to 2014, so it is familiar to many of our regulars and visitors, who will also be aware of the excellent acoustics, so we are hoping for lots of good singing and playing at future sessions This is now our new permanent home.