Robb Johnson - Catalogue
All Robb's earlier recordings, before IRR048, are now deleted. Proper Music have a few left, but, apart from the ones in the occasional Oxfam shop, that's it. All the recordings are listed here, the most recent first - along with the biography of Yoko Ono of which Robb is a co-author. Where items are offered on Amazon.co.uk, we provide an affiliate link. Some albums may also be available from private sellers in Amazon Marketplace.
IRR100: MY BEST REGARDS
Released 29th September 2016
My Best Regards, a new album of 13 songs, is due to be released on September 29th. It features pianist Jenny Carr and bassist John Forrester, who worked together on 2013’s recording of Gentle Men, and Robb’s son Arvin on drums and percussion.
The songs cover a wide spectrum of subjects; from the personal to the political, and the shared points in between; from birthdays to migrations; from late night bus stops to the Sidmouth promenade; from Babbacombe Model Village to Franz Kafka and Prague; and involve among others new babies in Hollingdean, MPs’ 10% pay rises, and Turkish red wine and charity shops in Broadstairs.
The album also contains different versions of three of the songs – two recorded with Brighton’s Hullabaloo Quire, and one song, When the Tide Comes in, recorded with the Palestinian singer Reem Kelani.
Robb says: “It is always difficult to be objective about a new album, but I think this one may well turn out to be particularly good. And - catalogue number IRR100 - who'd have thought we'd ever get this far? Being Irregular, IRR103 and IRR104 (by John Forrester & Philip Jeays respectively) will have already been released by the time IRR100 comes out, and I am pretty sure we haven't actually managed 100 releases - sometimes catalogue numbers have been given to albums that never happened or to demo recordings. Nonetheless, still pretty good going for what is essentially a disorganisation consisting largely of me, whichever hamster or cat is available at the time, and the long-suffering Molly Romanov doing pro-bono work on the website."
Read the review of My Best Regards on the Living Tradition web site.
A REASONABLE HISTORY OF IMPOSSIBLE DEMANDS
Released 12th February 2016
A five-CD retrospective box set, with a 64-page booklet. See the track list and reviews .
Released 6th November 2015
“Gentle Men” tells the stories of Robb Johnson’s grandfathers, Ernest Johnson and Harry Jenner. The songs present the effect of history on two of its statistics, two gentle men, who survived the First World War, but were forever in its shadow. Since the 2013 release of the highly acclaimed multi-artist double CD of “Gentle Men”, Robb Johnson has been performing these songs not just with other musicians but also solo. For these performances, Robb has developed a spoken word narrative that links and informs the narrative of the songs. This recording was taken at a performance in Wigan Parish Church in May 2015. As David Cartlidge, the promoter of that concert, says in the booklet notes to this double CD: “The spoken word sections added immeasurably to the story and strengthened its universal nature ... the overall performance was visceral, totally engaging and a privilege to witness”.
IRR095: CHEAP AND CHEERFUL / THE TOP OF THIS WHEEL
Released 18th April 2015
For Record Store Day 2015 (the third Saturday in April) Robb has produced a 7" single "Cheap and Cheerful" / "At the Top of this Wheel". This record is not a single taken from the album "Here Goes Nothing", but it comes from the same recording sessions, and features Robb & the Irregulars in relatively cheery knees-up mode, just the sort of thing you want from a 7" single.
IRRO94/IRR094V: HERE GOES NOTHING
Released May 2015
The latest CD from Robb and the Irregulars, "Here Goes Nothing", will be released on Monday 4th May. It comes as either a regular CD, or as a CD and vinyl LP pairing. There will also be a new T-shirt available at gigs. More information (such as backstories for the songs) will be added as and when it becomes available. Read what is there now...
This is the first record funded via Kickstarter, and it has been a huge success, with the costs oversubscribed. All the goodies which have been earned by those who have pledged money will be sent out in March, when it all turns up from the factory.
The tracklist is:
Many of the tracks last about five minutes, which is why it is an eight-track album, so the vinyl quality remains really good.The Irregulars on this album are:
IRR093V: MAKE BELIEVE / WHEN MY GRANDFATHER PLAYED FOOTBALL
Released December 2014
The 2014 Christmas single is an official release available from record shops (Head Records in Bromley, Resident Records and Cult Hero in Brighton) as well as iTunes, Amazon etc. "An absolutely wonderful song" said Mike Harding, as he played it on his weekly podcast.
Released on 28th July 2014
So here's another collection of songs firmly engaged with the realities of contemporary society, getting up in the morning and getting on with it, food banks, yuppified pubs, the centenary of the outbreak of the disaster that was supposed to be the war to end all wars, the disaster that is supposed to be the Minister for Education Michael Gove, railway stations, Boris Johnson and UKIP, Terry French and the Miners Strike, and a celebration of the life of Bob Crow.
Released on Remembrance Day, 11th November 2013.
Robb's highly acclaimed "family history of the First World War and its consequences" will be available both in a double CD digipack version and as part of a 120-page book version. Robb has revisited and revised the song suite, originally commissioned in 1997 for the Passendale Peace Concert, to take into account the experience both of subsequent performances and of recent historical events.
This new re-recording now includes several new songs, and is performed by a new cast of superb singers and musicians. Roy Bailey reprises his role as Robb's grandfathers, while Barb Jungr sings the female voices, and accompaniment is provided by Robb, Jude Abbott, Jenny Carr and John Forrester.
From Robb and the Acoustic Irregulars, released 1st April 2013.
Robb says: "It has been a bit of a bugger, dogged by all manner of bad luck and hindrance; originally it was supposed to be recorded in Gent with Belgian friends, but that all fell through, so it was relocated to Hove; it then suffered from a variety of delays and difficulties, including food poisoning, christmas, bouncing checks, Skype and snow. But it is I think extraordinarily beautiful." Read all about it!
The track list is as follows:
From Robb and the Irregulars. Released on 23rd April 2012. Read all about it! The track list is as follows.
From Robb and the Irregulars. Released on 7th November 2011. The track list is as follows. Read all about it!
IRR080: SOME RECENT PROTEST SONGS
Released on 18th July 2011. The track list is as follows:
A recording of the acclaimed "Liberty Tree" song-and-spoken-word story of the life and times of Tom Paine, written by Leon Rosselson and performed by Robb and Leon. A superb two-CD set of radical thinking, topped off with Leon and Robb's songs and some of Tom Paine's favourite jokes. Released by PM Press, and available at gigs or through PM Press, PO Box 23912, Oakland, CA 94623 | 510-658-3906 | firstname.lastname@example.org, or buy "The Liberty Tree" from Amazon with free postage!
IRR077: MAN WALKS INTO A PUB
Released in September 2010, this is a solo acoustic album, and the track list is as follows. Read all about it! (Updated 4th August 2010)
Released 30th November 2009, "The Ghost of Love" is by Robb Johnson with the Irregulars, and the track list as as follows:
4-CD set from Robb and the Irregulars, which includes:
Some of the tracks on CDs 3 & 4 appeared on the deleted "This is the UK Talking" CD and the first "Margaret Thatcher - My Part in Her Downfall" CD; but there's also a lot of tracks previously unreleased, including some very rare Ministry of Humour stuff! You also get a 24 page booklet with pretty comprehensive notes, & some great photos too.
IRR068: LOVE & DEATH & POLITICS - ROBB JOHNSON & THE IRREGULARS (2008)
See the lyrics and chords, listen to MP3s, and read the backstory for "Peanuts" here.
IRR063: SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE FIRE STATION - ROBB JOHNSON & THE IRREGULARS
This is a live recording of Robb’s 50th birthday gig. The 14 songs include current favourites, old favourites and 3 unreleased songs. The Irregulars on this recording are John Forrester on bass, Andi Tuck on drums, with Saskia Tomkins on fabulous electric violin. There are guest appearances from Maggie Holland, Graham Larkbey and Roger Watson, plus two songs where Robb duets with his sons Hari and Arvin, aged 8 and 7 respectively. It's a noisy, warts'n'all record of a splendid night out.
The album features 15 songs and one spoken word piece. Robb is accompanied by the brilliant piano playing of Russel Churney. It's very much an English Chanson album (Jacques Brel meets Bertolt Brecht down at the Old Bull and Bush), with songs about London, Paris, New York, men, bars, death, loss, love and Berkhamstead. Listen to tracks from Metro here. Read the lyrics from Metro here.
IRR058: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE - ROBB JOHNSON
18 tracks, voice and guitar, recorded “live” in the studio, a collection of new versions of current live favourites, rarities and 6 new songs.
IRR054: TONY BLAIR: MY PART IN HIS DOWNFALL - ROBB JOHNSON
This is a double album and contains 29 songs, written since 1997 in response to the Blair regime, and all its attendant farces and farragoes, presenting a dissenting view of cool Britannia, the Jubilee, and more wars than any other Prime Minister has presided over.
UNLaBEL004: FRIDAY NIGHT IN BRENTFORD - ROBB JOHNSON
12 songs about football, life and west London recorded live at Stripes Bar, July 2003, available from www.beesunited.org.uk.
All 12 of the songs were written by Robb whilst touring in the former DDR over the last three years, although there is the usual diversity of subject matter that characterises his songwriting.
IRR047: MAXIMUM RESPECT - ROBB JOHNSON
Co-produced by Ethical Wares, this 14 song album collects together all of Johnson’s songs about animal and related issues, ranging from the angry “Daybreak” to the humorous “Buster”, a song about Johnson's ex-tom cat. 7 tracks have never been released or appeared on CD before, and the album is only available at gigs or direct from Ethical Wares at www.ethicalwares.com.
IRR045: THE TRIUMPH OF HOPE OVER EXPERIENCE - ROBB JOHNSON
The album features songs set in Soho, Broadstairs, Brighton (“London-On-Sea”), Paris, Brentford Football ground, and songs dealing with weddings, paternity, General Pinochet and the delights of supporting Chumbawamba in Whitehaven. With contributions from cabaret diva Barb Jungr, pianist Russell Churney, Quimantu’s Mauricio Venegas, drummer Paul Mullineux, and with RJ3 members Miranda Sykes on bass and vocals and Saskia Tomkins on violin it is also one of the most ambitious and exciting albums musically that Robb has recorded.
IRR043: 21st CENTURY BLUES - ROBB JOHNSON WITH MIRANDA SYKES and SASKIA TOMKINS
15 tracks by “one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary songwriters, working with two of Britain’s finest acoustic musicians”. The 14 original songs deal with a diverse range of subjects, from the death of a biker friend, to the general state of the planet, taking in murder, old age, childhood, anarchists, and the Balkan wars along the way, plus a rare cover version, Johnson’s translation of “Voir Un Ami Pleurer” from the last recordings of Jacques Brel. (2001)
A new recording of 20 of Johnson’s older songs, including “The Herald Of Free Enterprise”, “Rosa’s Lovely Daughters”, “Captain Swing”, “Boxing Day”, and the agit-prop kiddies singalong “The Animals Song” (the original single was nearly an NME Single Of The Week!) for which he first became well-known, or notorious, depending on your political point of view. (2000)
IRR036: THE BIG WHEEL - ROBB JOHNSON
14 songs, acoustic guitar-based, about everything from Cirio’s in Brussels to Paradise Street in Liverpool, from Hillsborough to the mother of god rehoused in Hounslow, from songs for a new baby to songs for the barricades, including the anthemic “Be Reasonable”, and “Au Depart”, covered by Barb Jungr on her album BARE. All enhanced by excellent contributions from Philip Hoessen (accordion), Leon Rosselson (2nd guitar), Miranda Sykes (double bass) and Saskia Tomkins (violin and cello). (1999)
IRR032: YEAH YEAH YEAH - THE ROBB JOHNSON BAND
17 songs recorded between 91 and 98, chronicling the “commercially suicidal” life ’n’ times of the electric band, including “The Bells Of Freedom” and “We Hate The Tories”. (1998)
IRR030: GENTLE MEN (double CD) - ROBB JOHNSON
A family history of the First World War, and the long shadows it cast over the rest of the century. Performed by Roy Bailey, Vera Coomans, Robb Johnson, and Koen De Cauter and The Golden Serenaders. (1997)
IRR029: INVISIBLE PEOPLE - ROBB JOHNSON
13 songs, some solo and some seriously noisy, with longtime electric RJB rhythm section Huggy Harewood and Paul Mullineux plus rootsbanders Larcombe and Mann. (1997)
IRR027: OVERNIGHT - ROBB JOHNSON
14 songs, solo voice and acoustic guitar, a re-recording of most of the songs from the original ’91 “Overnight” album recorded with Pip Collings, (IRR 011-not so much deleted as run out of, and long overdue for reissue) but with additional songs – unreleased, unrecorded or from demos cassettes- also included. (1996)
IRR026: HELL’S KITCHEN - ROBB JOHNSON ROOTS BAND
13 songs aided and abetted by Steafan Hannigan, Maggie Holland, Fiona Larcombe, Terry Mann and Rory McLeod, and produced by Steafan Hannigan. (1996)
IRR025: THE NIGHT CAFÉ - ROBB JOHNSON
13 songs, solo voice and acoustic guitar, from the long dark night-café of the soul… (1995)
Robb has contributed to a new biography of Yoko Ono, co-written with Alan Clayson and Barb Jungr. “Woman: The Incredible Life Of Yoko Ono” is published by Chrome Dreams, ISBN 184240 220 X. Robb’s section of the narrative concerns the Lennon years. Robb had always thought that Lennon was at his most interesting when influenced by Yoko Ono’s creativity, and his research into this period of Yoko’s life confirmed his admiration for her as an artist and for her enduring commitment to peace and feminist politics. Alan Clayson narrates Yoko’s life before and after Lennon, and Barb Jungr analyses Yoko’s creative work in a series of focussed essays. Although Robb is a little unhappy with the way the book was edited, it’s nonetheless the first sympathetic biography of Yoko Ono that presents her as an important and influential 20th century artist. She did, after all, more or less write Lennon’s greatest hit “Imagine”.
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