Friday, 27 November 2009

Grocer Jack (Excerpt from a Teenage Opera) by Keith West

Released in 1967's summer of love this single received huge airplay, certainly on Johnnie Walker's Radio Caroline and to such a degree that its popularity took it to the number two spot in the singles chart.
It was part of a larger pop opera but one that never got to see the light of day for several decades as it wasn't released until 1997 nearly thirty years after the singles success.
I have always liked a song with a narrative and this one had a rather melancholic tale that was accompanied by the voices of many childern singing. It was all very typical of its time and very British too.

Count the days into years
Yes, eighty-two brings many fears
Yesterday's laughter turns to tears
His arms and legs don't feel so strong
His heart is weak, there's something wrong
Opens windows in despair
Tries to breathe in some fresh air
His conscience cries, "Get on your feet
Without you, Jack, the town can't eat".


Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, get off your back,
go into town, don't let them down, oh no, no.
Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, get off your back,
go into town, don't let them down, oh no, no.

The people that live in the town,
don't understand - he's never been known to miss his round.
It's ten o'clock, the housewives yell
"When Jack turns up, we'll give him hell".
Husbands moan at breakfast tables, no milk, no eggs, no marmalade labels.
Mothers send their children out, to Jack's house to scream and shout.


It's Sunday morning, bright and clear,
lovely flowers decorate a marble square.
People cry and mourn away, think about the fateful day,
Now they wish they'd given Jack more affection and respect,
The little children, dressed in black, don't know what's happened to old Jack.


Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, is it true what Mummy said,
you won't come back. oh no, no.
(rep. and fade)



wastedpapiers said...

A bit of nostalgia from the 60's - great stuff. I remember Peel playing this or parts of it on his Top Gear programme ( nothing to do with those idiots who drool over fast cars ) on the Beeb.

I also have keith on an excellent Lp called Tomorrow with the future guitarist of Yes in it. British psychedelai at its best!

C.J.Duffy said...

One of my all time favourites.