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Who's songwriter John Pole?

Chris Green 17 Oct 04 - 09:53 AM
Herga Kitty 17 Oct 04 - 10:15 AM
Chris Green 17 Oct 04 - 10:20 AM
Herga Kitty 17 Oct 04 - 10:42 AM
Chris Green 17 Oct 04 - 10:51 AM
Herga Kitty 17 Oct 04 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,MCP 17 Oct 04 - 11:10 AM
Anglo 17 Oct 04 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Gadaffi 18 Oct 04 - 08:34 AM
Herga Kitty 18 Oct 04 - 02:16 PM
synbyn 18 Oct 04 - 02:26 PM
Chris Green 18 Oct 04 - 02:38 PM
Dave Bryant 19 Oct 04 - 04:52 AM
Susanne (skw) 19 Oct 04 - 03:45 PM
Susanne (skw) 22 Oct 04 - 03:38 PM
The Borchester Echo 22 Oct 04 - 03:47 PM
Nerd 22 Oct 04 - 06:21 PM
Susanne (skw) 23 Oct 04 - 11:48 AM
The Borchester Echo 23 Oct 04 - 11:59 AM
BB 23 Oct 04 - 01:36 PM
The Borchester Echo 24 Oct 04 - 04:33 AM
GUEST 22 Feb 07 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,heather 22 Feb 07 - 06:34 PM
Susanne (skw) 24 Feb 07 - 07:49 PM
GUEST 25 Feb 07 - 03:22 AM
The Borchester Echo 25 Feb 07 - 03:51 AM
BB 25 Feb 07 - 05:33 PM
GUEST 26 Feb 07 - 03:24 AM
Banjovey 27 Jul 08 - 04:22 AM
Surreysinger 27 Jul 08 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,John Pole 03 Sep 08 - 03:07 PM
BB 03 Sep 08 - 03:32 PM
Banjovey 03 Sep 08 - 11:01 PM
Catamariner 04 May 09 - 01:03 AM
GUEST,John Pole 27 Nov 10 - 06:43 PM
Effsee 27 Nov 10 - 11:01 PM
Susanne (skw) 28 Nov 10 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Dick Holdstock 06 Mar 15 - 01:58 PM
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Subject: Who's John Pole?
From: Chris Green
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 09:53 AM

Does anyone know anything about the songwriter John Pole? I've come across a couple of his songs and I can't believe I've not heard of him! Any listening suggestions, autobiographical stuff or the like would be most gratefully received!


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 10:15 AM

So presumably you've come across Mr Fox?

I was at Sheila Miller's Cellar Upstairs a year or so ago, when John turned up and did a floor spot.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Chris Green
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 10:20 AM

I've not actually heard any of his stuff - I came across a couple of songs in a book from the 70s called The English Folksinger. Mr Fox was one of them (not presumably anything to do with the band of the same name!) and the other one was called Nothing Between Us Now, which was an amazing account of a marriage going down the tubes. I know there's a couple of his songs in the DT, but what I really wanted to know was where can I find some recordings of his output and is he still around so I can go and see him?


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 10:42 AM

Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing recorded Mr Fox on their Wildgoose Studio CD, Call and Cry. The contact number in Folk London for the Cellar Upstairs is 020 7281 7700.

Kitty

PS I have a copy of The English Folksinger too!


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Chris Green
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 10:51 AM

Thanks Kitty!


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 11:02 AM

Oh bugger, false memory syndrome strikes again..!

I've definitely heard Sue and Lorraine perform Mr Fox (and indeed, I used to sing it with guitar accompaniment by MCP,) but I've just checked the Call & Cry songlist and it wasn't included. Apologies,

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 11:10 AM

If you do a Forum search on [John Pole] you'll find some references with recording details I think.

A web search on +"John Pole"+song brings up quite a few recordings of his songs (none by him I think).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Anglo
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 10:24 PM

Frankie Armstrong has always been a champion of his songs, and has recorded several.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST,Gadaffi
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 08:34 AM

I've performed John Pole's song 'Punch and Judy' for over 25 years. I first heard it at the Enfield Folk Festival at an agitprop workshop, then found words and melody in a 'New City Songster' booklet at CSH. The only other person I know who performs this is Tim Laycock.
I went into the 'Folk Club' tent at the Berkshire Midsummer Festival when it was last held at Spencers Wood near Reading. There were less than a dozen people there, and when I finished, the MC said to me (publicly) 'I've never heard anyone else sing that before. Would you like to meet the writer?' I recall a gentleman dressed entirely in black, complete with fedora, and medallion, in the front row. He complimented me the next day on the campsite, but insisted the chorus ought to be sung with the gutteral 'That's the way to do it' twang - I do it without, so as to avoid laryngitis!


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 02:16 PM

Berkshire Midsummer Festival - much missed!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: synbyn
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 02:26 PM

Met John about 5 years ago- he came down with a bagful of songs- he was (probably still is) a Punch & Judy man himself. His songs are very complex & especially suited to unaccompanied singing, where their powerful storytelling casts a spell. Very interesting man. I lost contact with him after a bit (my fault, not his)- he wrote a startlingly strong song about the New Carers, which deserves a wide hearing- well in the tradition of Sing Out.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Chris Green
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 02:38 PM

He sounds like a thoroughly interesting bloke! If any of you get the word that he's appearing anywhere please let me know!


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 04:52 AM

John not only performed "Mr Punch's Play" but was quite an expert on the history of it. Haven't seen him for some time, but according to this he was at the "Musical Traditions Club" a couple of years ago. As far as I know, he's still London based.

You can find his song "Punch & Judy" here in the DT.

That's the way to do it !


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 03:45 PM

On her CD 'Garden of Love' Frankie Armstrong sings 'Small Change' by John Pole, a song that doesn't seem to have been mentioned anywhere on the Mudcat. (At least, it doesn't come up in a search for John Pole.) Does anyone know it? On an older LP she also does 'Jack the Lad', about a boy dying from a methadone overdose for a dare. Terrifying!


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: Jack the Lad (Help needed!)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 03:38 PM

I need help with this one in a couple of places, indicated by (?).

JACK THE LAD
(John Pole)

Where's Jack the lad then snuffed it ain't he
A lady just found him dead
Cold as the pavement and smelling sour
So much methadone
So much methadone
So much methadone inside his head

There's loads of methadone in his cough medicine, see
The empty bottle lies on the floor
It wasn't for a cough 'cause he was fighting fit
He'd never had no drugs
Never had no drugs
He'd never had no drugs at all before

Now Jack the lad was a bit of a tearaway
He'd done a (?) school for thievin' money   (prob for probationary?)
But he died safe at home next door to his old dear
She loved him all along
She loved him all along
She loved him all along now ain't that funny

Jack and his mates went up west one Saturday
With bent prescriptions they bought the stuff
If you can drink it all the lot the bottleful
You'll blow your mind all right
You'll blow your mind all right
You'll blow your mind all right that's sure enough

So Jack the lad he bought the medicine, see
Like John and Lennon Mike(?) they knew the scene (sounds like names to me)
Just for some laughs, like
Well he could do with some
What a load o' laughs in that
A load o' laughs in that
What a load o' laughs in that his life had been

He took the mixture hoem and lay down on the bed
The took the bottle and swigged it all
He twitched ands shivered and went out like a light
His mind went deaf and blind
His mind went deaf and blind
His mind went deaf and blind behind the wall

He lay unconscious dead to the world like
Up come his dinner and all his tea
Lay in his gullet and slowly choked him
He never moved a muscle
He never moved a muscle
He never moved a muscle to spew it free

It wasn't methadone killed Jack the lad you know
Just the obstruction that made him choke
It's not a hard drug like proper heroin
It was just accident
It was just accident
It was just accident he died poor bloke

Repeat 1


[1975:] The song was made by a school teacher, John Pole, and its words are based on the life and death of a South London schoolboy. Frankie Armstrong, who has worked among drug-users for a good while, was immediately struck by the song when she first heard Pole sing it, and she has made it into something of her own. She says: 'Judging from the number of people who come up and remark on it after a performance, it has affected and moved a great many people." (A.L.Lloyd, notes Frankie Armstrong, 'Songs and Ballads')


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 03:47 PM

I've seen him fairly recently at both the Cellar Upstairs and Musical Traditions. He just turns up.

One of his most powerfully relevant songs (and really well-known in the 70s) was about the London tower block Centre Point which remained empty for many years after completion.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Nerd
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 06:21 PM

D'ye ken John Pole?

Sorry, couldn't resist?


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 11:48 AM

Countess Richard, maybe you could ask him about the doubtful terms and relay his anwers back to us?
I remember Centre Point from sitting in front of it in 1975 and (mere provincial that I am) being very impressed. What has happened to it since?


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 11:59 AM

Suzanne:    I'm going to the Cellar Upstairs tonight so I'll try and find out how to contact him. And I'll certainly ask. Centre Point has been occupied for many a year now but John Pole's lyrics raged about how long it took to build:

"15 (?) years to build the bleeder..."

and how it was left empty for barely understood profit reasons.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: BB
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 01:36 PM

I have an address for John in Battersea, but that was over ten years ago, and he may have moved since then.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 04:33 AM

John wasn't at the Cellar Upstairs (though it was a fine and packed night) but I now have a confirmed address for him in Battersea and a phone number. Don't think I should post it without permission, so please PM me.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 06:24 PM

He'd done a (?) school for thievin' money
          ------------
"Approved School"

That's a sort of Borstal - you don't hear the expression these days!

Like John and Lennon Mike(?) they knew the scene
    -----------------------
"John and Len and Mike"


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST,heather
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 06:34 PM

I heard Frankie Armstrong sing Nativity by John Pole several years ago and have been looking about for it ever since. Does anyone know?


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 07:49 PM

Thanks, guest! I must have overlooked the countess's post, or maybe got distracted, for I don't think I ever took up her kind offer.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 03:22 AM

John lived in Clapham, South London up to eight years ago, within walking distance of 'The Court Sessions' Folk club run by Dave and Di East (Pat and I along with Tom and Barbara Brown were also involved at one time) - so he may be contactable through Dave and Di.
A number of his songs, including those mentioned, plus 'Centrepoint' were published in 'New City Songster (ed. Peggy Seeger).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 03:51 AM

I have sent a PM to Susanne with John Pole's contact details.
If anyone else wants them. do please ask offlist.

Strangely enough I saw John only a few weeks ago at Court Sessions, a jolly fine club which has recently changed venue to much closer Tooting Broadway station.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: BB
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:33 PM

Jim, just in case you ever bump into them again, it's Dave & Doreen, not Dave & Di! And the frightening thing is that their son is off to university this year!

I was talking to Dave just this afternoon, and apparently they're still having some venue problems, because the venue has a karaoke night on the 4th Friday of the month, and the two cannot run on the same night because of the noise from the karaoke. So they're not sure quite what to do.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 03:24 AM

Barbara,
Thanks - of course it was Doreen - thanks for the reminder.
Hope they get their venue problems sorted - it's been going a long time,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Banjovey
Date: 27 Jul 08 - 04:22 AM

I don't know the John Pole song 'Nativity' mentioned earlier. I wonder whether their is a change of title here as John certainly wrote a very powerful song called 'Anti-Carol' which is in NCS. He also wrote a fore runner to Mr. Fox called 'Captain Reynolds' which hardly gets a mention these days.
I don't think John does much performing these days, apart from floor spots when he wants to try out a new song although I do remember we booked him and Mikes Wootten to do a guest night at Court Sessions a good while ago.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 27 Jul 08 - 08:08 AM

I saw him doing a spot , and heard him sing "The Lily" at Court Sessions last November .. .and then kicked myself afterwards, as there were some words in one of the verses that I've never been able to work out from the singing of the two other people who I've heard singing it - I even asked one of them, and even then we weren't 100% convinced between the two of us of the correct words !!! And I hadn't noticed what he'd sung, and didn't think to ask afterwards ... doh!!


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST,John Pole
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 03:07 PM

I am John Pole and my email address is johnpole1934@yahoo.co.uk
I wrote Punch and Judy,The Lily, Jack the Lad, Nothing Between Us Now,Anticarol,Mr Fox, Captain Reynolds,Small Change, The Internet Song and quite a few others. I am a Punch and Judy man and also a storyteller. I retired from teaching some time ago but still live in Battersea, still write songs and still haven't recorded any of my songs, though a few other people have recorded some of them. I sing at Court Sessions club (at the Selkirk, Tooting) - that's the way to do it. Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: BB
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 03:32 PM

Hello John,

Good to know you're still around. Hope to see you sometime when we're up that way again.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Banjovey
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 11:01 PM

Hi John, Love to Lesley and the girls. See you some time I hope
Colin


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Catamariner
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:03 AM

I found a transcription from an unknown author (I think he's an ethnomusicologist and these were course notes of some kind) in a weird online compilation today. I have placed Susanne's lyrics in caps where the other transcriber was uncertain, but I favor the other transcriber's "Borstal" - those were a kind of youth prison in the UK (first one est. at the village of Borstal near Rochester, Kent) until they were replaced in 1982 with "youth custody centres." Of course, John P could clear this up rather quickly... please???

===

Jack the Lad (by John Pole, as sung by Frankie Armstrong)
Frankie Armstrong: Songs and Ballads Topic 12TS273 B:1

Where's Jack the Lad, THEN, SNUFFED IT AIN'T HE?
A lady just found him dead
Cold as the pavement and smelling sour
So much methadone, so much methadone, so much methadone inside his head

There's loads of methadone in his cough med'cine, see
The empty bottle lies on the floor
It wasn't for a cough 'cause he was fightin'-fit
He'd never had no drugs, never had no drugs, he'd never had no drugs at all before

Now Jack the Lad was a bit of a tearaway
He'd done a Borstal for thievin' money
But he died safe at home next door to his Old Dear
She loved him all along, loved him all along, she loved him all along, now ain't that funny

Jack and his mates went Up West one Saturday
With bent prescriptions they bought the stuff
If you can drink it all, the lot, the bottleful
You'll blow your mind alright, blow your mind alright, you'll blow your mind alright, that's sure enough

So Jack the Lad he bought the med'cine, see, like John & Lennon, like, they knew the scene
Just for some laughs, like, and he could do with some
What a load of laughs and that, load of laughs and that, what a load of laughs and that his life had been

He took the mixture home and lay down on the bed
He shook the bottle and swigged it all
He twitched and shivered and went out like a light
His mind went deaf and blind, mind went deaf and blind, his mind went deaf and blind behind the wall

He lay unconscious, dead to the world, like,
Up come his dinner and all his tea
Lay in his gullet and slowly choked him
He never moved a muscle, never moved a muscle, he never moved a muscle to spew it free

It wasn't methadone killed Jack the Lad you know
Just the obstruction that made him choke
It's not a hard drug like proper heroin
It was just accident, was just accident, it was just accident he died, poor bloke.

===

Hope that was it! I can hardly wait for Susanne to finally put the lyrics up in Henry's Songbook :-) Thank you, thank you, Susanne and John!


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST,John Pole
Date: 27 Nov 10 - 06:43 PM

I'm still John Pole and I hadn't noticed there are still garbled versions of my lyrics being discussed.And so...I'll correct the text Catamariner gave (nearly 2 years ago) -

In "Jack the Lad" I wrote:

1.NOT "A lady just found him" but "His old lady just found him".
2.NOT "He done a Borstal" but "He done approved school" (In 1968 when I wrote it, "Borstal" was out of date and "young offenders" and other terms hadn't been invented.
3. NOT "next door" but "next room".
4. NOT "John and Lennon" but "John and Len and Gray" ("Gray" short for "Graham", a real kid I taught who was on drugs)
5. NOT "behind the wall" but "behind a wall" (I was trying to suggest that knocking himself out was like having a wall between him and the world he couldn't bear).

Most of these points are minor - but NOT 1 ("His old lady" is his Mum) or 4 (The Beatles weren't involved, just 3 of his mates).Maybe it's the "Folk Process" at work.

Interesting to know it's still being discussed and possibly sung 33 years later.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Effsee
Date: 27 Nov 10 - 11:01 PM

And sadly John, still so relevant! Great job by the way!
Long may your pen stay inked.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 28 Nov 10 - 07:30 AM

Many thanks for clearing this up, John. I took it down by ear from Frankie Armstrong's recording and am glad to stand corrected.


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Subject: RE: Who's John Pole?
From: GUEST,Dick Holdstock
Date: 06 Mar 15 - 01:58 PM

Sorry to come in so late on this. I have sung Punch and Judy for years after learning it from Mike Pratt in Vancouver B.C.
About 20 years ago I sang it as a floor singer in Scotland, to much acclaim until the next singer got up and said how much he hated the song. I asked him why? He said the Punch and Judy song came in first place at a song writing contest when he entered. Poles song beat the best song he had ever written so he humorously remained mad at Pole.


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