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Who's songwriter John Pole?

DigiTrad:
ANTI-CAROL
MISTER FOX
PUNCH AND JUDY


Related thread:
Lyr Req: Anti-Carol (John Pole) (6)


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
Joe Offer 12 Jul 18 - 12:00 AM
Joe Offer 12 Jul 18 - 12:02 AM
Reinhard 12 Jul 18 - 12:42 AM
Reinhard 12 Jul 18 - 12:50 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jul 18 - 01:04 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jul 18 - 11:23 AM
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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: ADD: Jack the Lad (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.




I've incorporated John's corrections below. Hope it's right now. -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-

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?
His old 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 done approved school for thievin' money
But he died safe at home next room 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 and Len and Gray, 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 a 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.

Frankie Armstrong recording (may not play outside USA)


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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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Subject: ADD: See It Come Down (John Pole)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 12:00 AM

We have John Pole songs scattered all over. Might be an idea to consolidate them.

Thread #31006   Message #405512
Posted By: Susanne (skw)
24-Feb-01 - 05:59 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
Subject: Lyr Add: SEE IT COME DOWN (John Pole)

SEE IT COME DOWN
(John Pole)

In the house where I was born, first home I knew
There's corrugated iron blinding all the windows
In the garden Dad made round the lawn
Where green grass grew
There's muck and rubble and mud, half bricks and cinders
For the developers have come to town
And soon I'll see it, see it come down
See it come down

My old mum they moved her to a high rise flat
Where she misses her mates and hopes we'll see her Sunday
She lives alone with a lovely view and a clean doormat
Afraid that death will catch her napping some day
The lady with meals on wheels, the one friend she's found
Though she cries for the old place, she won't see it come down
See it come down

Cloud of dust like smoke round a demolition site where I drive my crane
Swinging the big steel ball that smashes walls in
Winch it back careful, get the cable right, let it swing again
There's a little more no-man's-land as each brick falls in
A car park and an office block when I've cleared the ground
They've paid me to see it, and now I've seen it come down
Seen it come down

We was all one where we lived, wish we were now
We had debts and dole and kids but we did have neighbours
Where the street was they want to build a tombstone tower
Like a monster concrete moneybox for strangers
Every last square foot of it worth a hundred pounds
Some day we'll see that come tumbling down
See it come down

[1994:] In some parts of [Glasgow after the War] there were 400 people to the acre and to rehouse them at minimal cost took precedence over what they wanted. People who had lived for generations in cramped conditions with outside toilets and no bathrooms needed better housing, but they didn't want to leave the areas where they had grown up and the close communities they lived in. It became a common sight to see sad little groups watching bleakly as their former homes, and those of their parents and grandparents were demolished. But the politicians still knew best. (Meg Henderson, Finding Peggy 89)



Roy Bailey recording (may not play outside USA)


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Subject: ADD: Mr. Fox (John Pole)^^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 12:02 AM

Thread #140869   Message #3239297
Posted By: Jim Carroll
15-Oct-11 - 06:41 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Any songs about a bad dishonest fox?
Subject: Lyr Add: MR FOX (John Pole)

As nobody else seems to have put it up
Jim Carroll

MR FOX
By JOHN POLE

Outside Mr. Fox's garden
Three maids playing with a golden ball,
Jenny threw it up and Susan caught it
Mary bounced it over the wall.
The wall is high
Mr. Fox has a little red eye.

In she ran to fetch it back again.
The garden gate stood open wide
It was quickly closed and locked behind her.
Mr. fox was Just inside.
The wall is high.
His smile is cruel and his eyes are sly.

He said. I'll keep your ball. Miss Mary.
I shall have it and here you'll stay.
You'll keep my house and be my servant.
And never go out for a year and a day.
The wall is high
The long grass shivers and the tall trees sigh.

Spring and summer passed like shadows
She watched the green leaves fade and fall.
She walked alone in the empty garden
And Mr. Fox said — nothing at all.
The wall is high
Never a soul comes near nor by.

Three strange things he did forbid her.
Never you touch my iron box.
Never go near the thirteenth bedroom
Nor near the bed, said Mr. Fox.
The wall is high.
Don't you dare to ask me why.

Mary she rose up one morning
She saw an iron box on a shelf
But of all the rooms at Mr. Fox's
Bedrooms there were only twelve.
The wall is high,
Mary don't you peep or pry.

One day Mr. Fox went walking
In that box she found a key,
It fitted a door she'd never unfastened
And when she opened it, what did she see?
The wall is high
The door said STOP and the key said FLYl

In Mr. Fox's thirteenth bedroom
A naked sword hung on the wall
In a silver bowl on the bed's blade counterpane.
Mary saw her golden ball.
The wall is high,
The bed said COME and the sword said DIE!

In she ran to get her ball again
To snatch it off the great black bed.
Out crept Mr. and leapt at her
His teeth flashed white and his eyes burnt red.
The wall is high...........




Some sources like All Music Guide give credit for this song to Terry Yarnell, but The English Folksinger says John Pole is the songwriter. How is Yarnell tied to this song?
-Joe-
Frankie Armstrong recording (may not play outside USA)


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Subject: RE: Who's songwriter John Pole?
From: Reinhard
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 12:42 AM

Joe, Terry Yarnell sang Mr Fox on his 2001 CD A Bonny Bunch. But he clearly credits it as "This is from the pen of the master song maker John Pole. [...] The tune is my own."

And Herga Kitty wrote in 2004 that Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing recorded Mr Fox on their Wildgoose Studio CD, Call and Cry, which she corrected a few postings on. But Sue an Lorraine actually did record it later on their 2012 RootBeat album The 13th Bedroom .


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Subject: RE: Who's songwriter John Pole?
From: Reinhard
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 12:50 AM

Also, Frankie Armstrong on her 1984 album I Heard a Woman Singing credits Mr Fox to "words John Pole, tune Terry Yarnell".


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Subject: RE: Who's songwriter John Pole?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 01:04 AM

I knew John well when I lived in London - I even did electrical work in his house and his wife, Lesley's shop
He was a schoolteacher who was befriended by Ewan and became a regular visitor to the singer's club
He was a fine songwriter who based his songs on his own experiences - the first song I ever heard of his was Jack the Lad, about a pupil he either knew or heard about who died of an overdose of methadone.
John had an amazing ear for vernacular language; another of his songs, a fine exhibition of his skills was 'Centrepoint', a cry of anger about a monstrosity of a multistory building that was erected for profit and left empty as an investment - for about ten years
He turned everywhere for inspiration for his songs - he took a lovely little story from H.E. Bates ans made 'The Lily'
He was a Punch and Judy man and used the plot of those performances to make a philosophical song, 'Punch and Judy'
Around this time, an audience member had come to the Singer's Club and given Ewan and Peg an immaculate first edition set of the first manifestation of the Child ballads (published by Little Brown and Co.
Ewan and Peg decided to use it to promote song making so they offered it as a prize for the best song - John won it with 'Punch and Judy'
In those days everybody was singing John's songs - one of the problems was that his tunes were somewhat anarchical, so singers like Frankie Armstrong and Terry Yarnell tended to make new tunes to suit themselves.
AS Terry said in his sleeve notes, Mr Fox was one of those.
I think Frankie also recorded the song - she certainly sang it regularly
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who's songwriter John Pole?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 11:23 AM

I know John reasonably well. He and his daughter go to the Bits and Pieces Folk Club in Silverdale. I had his seal of approval for my version of Punchinella.


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