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Robb Johnson, A Break in the Clouds

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Goodbye Pete, my friend who always brought the extra sandwiches in case his mates forgot - 19th February 2014


"SWEET JANE / BAY OF ANGELS "

This two-song vinyl single features Robb Johnson solo, and will be released on 20th April 2013, Record Store Day, supporting independent local record retailers.

You can read all about this record and how it came about in the Catalogue section.

(19th February 2014)


"NO GODS, NO MASTERS" DOUBLE DVD - Robb Johnson and Leon Rosselson

In this glorious two-DVD set, Britain’s finest living songwriters are captured live (on tour in Berkeley, California), presenting two nights of their original songs, words, and inimitable performance.

Turning Silence into Song (Disc One) showcases a pair of career-spanning “greatest hits”, with a suitable sprinkling of new and previously unreleased material. All introduced and contextualized with a large helping of trademark wit and dry irony.

The Liberty Tree (Disc Two) tells the story of Tom Paine’s extraordinary life, interweaving Paine’s own words, from his letters and the pamphlets which made him one of the most influential and dangerous writers of his age, with extracts from newspaper reports, diaries, letters, and other documents of the times. The songs of Robb Johnson and Leon Rosselson add another dimension to the story, reflecting Paine’s radical ideas and evaluating them in the context of the 21st century. This unique blend of words and music challenges received opinion in the same way Paine’s writings did.

Together, herein you’ll find over four hours of the finest contemporary songs, stories, humour, and observation from the greatest practitioners of the craft.

Buy the No Gods No Masters double DVD from Four Dogs Music now!

(1st December 2013 updated 6th January 2014)


NUT STRIKE FUND

Brighton & Hove NUT have got a hardship fund to support teachers for whom striking causes particular financial problems. Robb has recorded a CD-EP of six Gove-related songs, all proceeds of which will go to the hardship fund. The songs, all new recordings, are: "Who Was That Man?", a new version of "Oliver Twist", "Charlie", a revised "Cream of the Nation", an acoustic version of "Rupert Says", and "Ho Ho Ho PLC". Cost is minimum £7, cheques made payable to "Brighton and Hove Teachers' Association NUT" , plus a couple of first class stamps for postage - and remember to say where to send it! Send your order to R Johnson, PO Box 5143, Hove BN52 9FT. You can also e-mail info@irregularrecords.co.uk to reserve a copy if you like. 

(17th October 2013)


GENTLE MEN CD

Robb's latest major project is due for release in November! "Gentle Men" looks back a hundred years to the outbreak of World War I, and all that followed, from a very personal perspective. Robb says:

"Gentle Men is a family history of The War To End All Wars, and the century that followed. I wanted to show my grandfathers as people with lives either side of the war, not just as victims in uniform. They had aspirations, expectations, different lives, sunnier lives perhaps before 1914, and although both survived the war, both of them were forever in its shadow. And I wanted to state in solidarity with all the Erns and Harrys who never came back, that each one of the dead was equally a unique individual with an own story worth the telling, and with as much to offer, and as much to lose."

"Gentle Men" was recorded with the invaluable assistance of Jude Abbott, Jenny Carr, Roy Bailey, Barb Jungr and John Forrester, all of whom will appear live at the two launch concerts on 7th November and 5th December (see the Gigs page for details).

"Gentle Men" will be released on Remembrance Day, 11th November 2013. It can be pre-ordered from http://gentle-men2014.co.uk/shop.

(17th October 2013)


CD NEWS

The new Bandana Collective CD is now available - one reviewer commented that this is what punk folk ought to sound like. The band are gigging quite frequently, and chuffed that it looks likely they'll be opening the Friday night  entertainment at this year's Tolpuddle Festival.

The process of the new recording of the "Gentle Men" song suite is gathering pace. Robb has restructured and rearranged the songs partly to give the work a better, more considered shape and partly in order to take into account the fact that the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War to end all wars approaches, with the UK currently showing an unhappy appetite for military enterprises. The musicians and singers working on this project are Jude Abbott, Roy Bailey, Jenny Carr, John Forrester and Barb Jungr. Already, the rehearsals have been more than a bit breathtaking.

Update: At the beginning of April in Gent, in the very wonderful DK Studios, the musicians listed above recorded "Gentle Men", and Robb says it sounds superb. Currently Rudy at DK is doing the first set of mixes, and at some point soon it is hoped to have a Gentle Men 2013 website which will have more information, details etc.

(5th February 2013/12th April 2013)


"BRING DOWN THE MOON"

The new acoustic album from Robb was released on 1st April 2013. Robb is undertaking a major national tour to promote the CD, getting as far north as Partick - so all of you Scottish fans, this is your chance to hear him live!

"Bring Down the Moon" is intended to be an acoustic folkie-friendly album, sort of a follow-up to "Man Walks into a Pub". It includes John Forrester on double bass, Bethan Prosser on violin, Linze Maesterosa on saxophone, Naomy Browton on cello, Jo Chedgey and Imo Bergonzi on vocals, and Robb's son Arv on drums. The overall sound is very acoustic, and there are some tracks that will be just voice and guitar. Robb says: "It started out trying to be a nice album, but reality has somewhat got in the way again! But it is I think extraordinarily beautiful."

Read all about it!

(5th February 2013/27th February 2013/12th April 2013)


"WEST PIER SERENADE"

"West Pier Serenade" features Robb Johnson solo, and was released on 20th April 2013. It is issued as a vinyl record, with a regular CD included. The actual day of release was be Record Store Day, supporting independent local record retailers. For the track list, see the Catalogue page.

Robb says: "This is a sort of 'best of' that was to have accompanied a book of my dad's poems, so the songs chosen are sort of 'my dad' friendly. Although most of the songs have already appeared somewhere else, they are also mostly now deleted or unavailable. What is more, these new recordings feature the superb Saskia Tomkins on violin, viola and nyckelharpa, and they sound really lovely, which is why I decided: bugger financial commonsense, they deserve to go out on vinyl! There is no CD-on-its-own release, but I will be selling CD versions at gigs or through mail order to help pay for the project."

Read all about it!

(26th/28th January 2013)


NEW MP3s

Three new MP3s have been uploaded to the web site for your enjoyment. (12th December 2012)


ABBIE HOFFMAN T-SHIRT

Even more limited-edition than Robb's vinyl records are these Fairtrade black-and-white T-shirts, celebrating both the release of "Happily Ever After" and the very influential activist of the 1960s, '70s and '80s, Abbie Hoffman - see picture below. Available in sizes XXL, XL, M and S at a cost of £20, these T-shirts can be bought at Robb's gigs, or by mail order from info@irregularrecords.co.uk.


SONG OF 2011 AWARD

Robb's song "When Tottenham Burned" won FATEA's "Song of 2011" award. In thanking them, Robb says, "I am pleased that this song has been honoured with the FATEA award. I would hope that the song presents a truer understanding of these events than you find in the mouths of politicians and the media. That is, after all, one of the main functions of folk song."


EXTRACTS FROM REVIEWS

Praise for Robb Johnson’s solo acoustic album “Some Recent Protest Songs” (IRR080):

“impressive … thoughtful and personal stories of squandered hopes, and laments for a divided Britain” (The Guardian)

“a perfect record for the times” (R2)

“funny, moving and inspiring” (The Morning Star)

“Robb’s typically literate, quirkily individual songs genuinely entertain” (Properganda)


ROBB ON FACEBOOK

Yes, Robb has succumbed to the 21st Century and now has a Facebook Presence. Marvel at it at www.facebook.com/pages/Robb-Johnson-Official/200634450006087. You don't even have to be logged in to see it!


ROBB BLOG

Robb now has his own page on the "Waking the Muse" blog on the Properganda web site! See http://www.propergandaonline.com/blog/?p=25809.


HAPPILY EVER AFTER

 Tim Sanpher  The Irregulars is now a twin-guitar, bass and drums line-up, with the superb Tim Sanpher on guitar along with Robb. Bass and drums is the magnificently formidable Forrester and Waygood partnership. Our dear friend and comrade in racket Roger Watson remains our melodeon player, even though since suffering a stroke last June, he is no longer able to play. The band recently recorded 16 tracks for a forthcoming Irregulars album, probably likely to be titled "Happily Ever After" and released some time in the autumn. At the moment, we're not sure what format(s) we'll release the album in...

Without Roger, there is not even the fig-leaf of melodeon-flavoured fFolke Respectability, so we're not sure where or how we're going to promote it. One lunatic idea is to release the album on vinyl, just for the hell of it, and on download through Proper (Proper aren't too keen on handling vinyl). We'd welcome your views on this - email info@irregularrecords.co.uk.

We are starting to mix the album on July 3rd; already it sounds... very noisy and pretty awesome. If you can help us find some gigs in the autumn, that would be appreciated - again, email us at info@irregularrecords.co.uk. At the moment, we have a world tour that takes in Leighton Buzzard, Stockwell and Ghent...

(Added 23rd June 2011. Photos by Charlie Waygood)


OTHER CDs

Now available: "Now That's What I call Garage" by the SC4 (South Coast Four) - Robb's son Arvin Johnson on drums, Robb Johnson on bass, Graham Larkbey on guitar and vocals and Tim Sanpher on lead guitar. A thoroughly excellent collection of ten songs, the sort of stuff that powered pubrock into punk - a tenner plus postage. Unmissable - Chuck Berry meets Bob Dylan. "I Fought the Law" meets "Gloria" and "Peace Love & Understanding" - plus some Larkbey and Johnson numbers too. E-mail info@irregularrecords.co.uk for details.

(Added 28th April 2011)

Aficionados of righteous racket will also enjoy "No Future", the Released Emotions CD of classic punk Sex Pistols, Clash and Damned songs performed by the likes of The Price, Blaggers ITA, Attila, Steve Drewett, with Robb providing an acoustic guitar version of "Thanks for the Night". Contact info@irregularrecords.co.uk if you fancy one for a tenner.

(Added 26th June 2011)


MAGAZINE ARTICLE

That excellent on-line music magazine "Caught in the Act" on the "Stick It In Your Ear" web site includes another article about Robb in its March 2011 edition! You will find it at www.siiye.co.uk/E6/PAGE_096.html. Focussing on the Man Walks Into a Pub CD and tour, it includes some of the information also to be found on this web site, but adds a brand-new Tour Diary written by Robb as he went along, which starts at www.siiye.co.uk/E6/PAGE_102.html . Don't stop when you get to the end of that - there's more! An interview with Geoff Wall starts at www.siiye.co.uk/E6/PAGE_115.html. And there are even two or three introductory paragraphs at www.siiye.co.uk/E6/PAGE_006.html.

If that still leaves you panting for more, take a look at the article which they published in May 2010.

(Added 27th April 2011)


THE LIBERTY TREE

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 | info@pmpress.org. Or buy "The Liberty Tree" from Amazon with free postage!

(Added 13th December 2010)


MAGAZINE ARTICLE

The excellent on-line music magazine "Caught in the Act" on the "Stick It In Your Ear" web site includes in its May 2010 edition a long and detailed article about Robb, which you can read at www.siiye.co.uk/E4/PAGE_099.html. (It's nearly fifty pages long! - so don't overlook the "next page" blue triangle at the bottom left corner of each page.) There are also a couple of introductory paragraphs at www.siiye.co.uk/E4/PAGE_004.html.


T-SHIRTS: Margaret Thatcher, my part in her downfall

Now available: striking new T-shirts. The design below is printed on white T-shirts, which are available in sizes XXL, XL, M and S, at a cost of £10 + £2 p&p. Order yours by e-mailing info@irregularrecords.co.uk, or save on the p&p by buying yours at one of Robb's gigs.

 T-shirt image

(Added 6th July 2009, updated 5th August 2009)


PHOTOS

These photos were taken at Trowbridge on 25th July 2009 (for which many thanks to photographer Claire Pullinger). Click on any of them to see a much larger version. There are more of Claire's photos of the occasion at http://gallery.me.com/cpullinger#100401.

Also, follow this link for some band photos taken in May 2008.

The current membership of The Irregulars is (in addition to Robb himself, of course):

Naomy Browton, cello
John Forrester, bass and b/vox
Roger Watson, melodeon and harmonica (though missing in Germany when these photos were taken)
Charlie Waygood, drums

 Robb Johnson

 Robb Johnson   Charlie

  Naomy   John


Robb Johnson & The IrregularsPublicity photographs:
Robb Johnson & The Irregulars
Most of The Irregulars
Saskia & Roger
Robb & Paul
Robb & John

These publicity shots are large images which open in a new window. Photo credits: Guy Smallman.