A Geordie Love Poem

Bruce Channel “Hey! Baby”

This is the first of the Poetry JukeBox. The buttons were pressed by Bristol poet David C Johnson.

David has been a regular visitor to Tyneside over the years and will be returning in March 2019 as a guest poet at the Great Northern Slam. I have also some very happy memories of performing in Bristol as part of the Poetry Vandals. During the Bristol Poetry Festival we performed at the Polish Club and the evening was memorable not only for its lovely and appreciative audience but for the large quantities of ultra strong Polish beer we drank after the show.  jukebox

“Hey! Baby”  was released in 1962 by Bruce Channel (real name Bruce McMeans). It sold more than one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. Channel had a couple of other minor hits but his career never really took off and he is considered a one hit wonder.

b7b1b283fc9c4acc813fc608d465ec1bChannel did tour Europe and was supported at one gig by the Beatles, (before they were famous). John Lennon, who had “Hey! Baby” on his jukebox, was fascinated by  the harmonica segment in “Hey! Baby” and if you listen to “Love me Do” you can hear the influence. 

The main appeal of “Hey! Baby” is probably the sustained first note, with a rhythmic pattern in the background. This device was used in 1962 for “Sherry”  by the Four Seasons

Coincidentally Bruce’s  birthday is the day after mine on 28th November.

A love song leads to a love poem and in this case a Geordie love poem.

 

A Geordie Love Poem

 

She’s a diamond, that lass of mine

There were days when she lost her shine

Still the light shone through the dirt and the grime

The difficult days and the uphill days

But we were always rooted in trust

And if you must, in the way we talked

About it all

Until the small hours

On summer’s nights and campsites

In bars and clubs and seedy pubs

Sulks and silence accomplish nothing

But words set us free to be

Who we are

She is better than me in so many ways

I learn to be better when she shows me the way

She is more important to me

Than football

 

© Jeff Price August 2018

Norman

Lambchop “Soaky in the Pooper”

This strange and melancholic song tells the tale of a man dying alone in a toilet and wasjukebox requested on the Poetry JukeBox by crime writer, poet and retired turkey inseminator Alfie Crow. In Alfie’s email he said ” It contains a line about a man’s funeral that ‘all the mourners travelled in one car...” A terribly sad song about a lonely death can be achingly beautiful at the same time.

lambchopLambchop, originally Posterchild, is an American band from Nashville. Never a band with a core lineup, Lambchop has consisted of a large and fluid collective of musicians focused around its creative centre, frontman Kurt Wagner. 

The song reminded me of a guy I knew years ago who was one of the “cool” people of Newcastle but heroin addiction cut his life short and he died a pauper’s death. Although in his last few years he had few friends, there was a large turnout for his funeral. He was not the first and would not be the last to have his life cut short by heroin and to die a lonely death like Soaky.

 

Norman

 

You were always the cool one

With your long black coat and dark hair

You were debonair

With a flare for the outrageous

And a penchant for dangerous drugs

 

“Norman” is not the coolest name

But you gave it mystery

You were dismissive and disdainful

Of those too eager to please

Indulgent and generous to those

Who you considered a friend

 

Years later someone said they saw

You begging on the High Street

Asking strangers for change

Your hair grey and dirty

Your good looks stolen

 

When they buried you

The man from the homeless shelter

Said he was surprised

That so many people turned up

“Usually” he said with a puzzled look

“The mourners come in one car”

 

© Jeff Price August 2018