Rob Poole grew up in South East London and arrived in North East Wales/Cheshire via South West London, Oxford and Liverpool. He is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who has been gigging since the age of 15. His solo career started at Bunjie’s Folk Cellar near Leicester Square in 1974. Three years later,and ahead of his time, he performed an acoustic punk set at the same venue and was ignominiously booed off. He turned his back on acoustic music for several decades.
He has been a member of many bands, including:
Nobby Conch. Steve Hammond and Rob Poole led this band. They declined the offer of a slot at the 1974 Windsor Great Park Free Festival, anticipating trouble with the police, which is exactly what occurred. The band broke up having decided that getting degrees was a better career move than music. Unfortunately, very few rock bands of the era built their charisma on a reputation for making sensible decisions
The Dinner Ladies. Effectively a pit band for a show at college
The Quatre Chanteurs De Clapham. Best remembered for an eccentric approach to harmony singing, and for the use of a Stylophone in their opening number, Telstar. Pioneers of musical irony
The Wang Dangs. Shambolic 13 piece (if you include the drummer’s dog, who got stepped on a lot). Wildly popular, but performances were more enthusiastic than accomplished. They routinely broke the fire limit at the Jericho Tavern, Oxford
Smell The Glove. A pop-up band in Oxford. One of the four members had been in an early version of Dire Straits (not the successful version, obviously). Extant video shows that they were surprisingly good, given the band’s four-week life span.
The Bozini Band. An even more transient Oxford supergroup that only ever played one gig. Such was the fate of supergroups.
Fat Al’s Band. Highly popular on the bikers’ circuit in the North West of England, Rob stayed in Fat’s Al Band for 15 years and innumerable gigs, playing guitar, keyboards, bass, harmonica and some vocals. They regularly played one of his greatest hits, ‘Happy New Year, Hank Williams’. Left without acrimony
Going Down Slow. A blues band that never recovered from the sudden death of a member the day after their first recording session.
The Chester Burn-Ettes. Moved through several incarnations, ending up as a high energy blues band in the general spirit of Wilko-era Dr Feelgood and George Thorogood. Often played for 2.5 hours or more without bothering to slow to medium-paced. Never recovered from the (excellent) drummer changing instrument owing to an orthopaedic problem. Played ‘Happy New Year, Hank Williams’ (this version can be heard on Audio page).
The Levee Breaks. A blues-rock band that Rob left because of day job commitments, in a rare loss of equipoise in band/life balance. The band has thrived without him.
Chester and the Pole Cat. A two slide guitars duo that shouldn’t have worked but did, until it didn’t. It floundered on the rocks of Musical Differences, as creative musical partnerships sometimes will.
Since 2015, Rob Poole has returned to the lonely life of a solo performer, with the attendant risk that he will throw himself out of the band. This risk has been ameliorated by the late resurgence of his song-writing. Or that is what he tells people. You can judge for yourself.