AND FOR MY NEXT TRICK...
No sooner has Robb's five-CD box set been released than we have news that he has nearly finished recording his next album, "My Best Regards". Expect a Kickstarter campaign to be announced here soon!
(Added 12th February 2016)
"A REASONABLE HISTORY OF IMPOSSIBLE DEMANDS"
A five-CD career retrospective box set, plus a 64-page booklet, entitled "A Reasonable History of Impossible Demands" is released by PM Press of California and available in this country from 12th February, distribution by Discovery Records.
The life and times (so far!) of the UK’s greatest living songwriter are captured in a deluxe box set. 92 songs on 5 CDs with a 64-page booklet. A career retrospective traversing the acoustic and the electric, the agit-folk and the chanson, the greatest hits and a welter of unreleased material.
“So - yeah, this collection does have quite a lot of politics and protest, lots of songs doing what folk song is supposed to do – provide an alternative ordinary person’s perspective to the dominant culture’s hegemonic discourse, its spin and propagandising on behalf of the interests of the ruling class. But there are also interpersonal songs about relationships, about being a son, being a lover, being a dad (think I may not have had room for the ones about being a Brentford supporter), above all about being a human … what you have here is part journal, part diary, part testament.”
(Added 1st February 2016, updated 12th February)
KICKSTARTER "GENTLE MEN" UPDATE
Excellent news - the deadline for crowdfunding via Kickstarter for this CD has passed, and the target has been reached - so it is all systems go with the CD, which will be released in November. More information here.
(Added on 24th July 2015, updated 1st February 2016)
KICKSTARTER CROWDFUNDING FOR "GENTLE MEN"
Robb is planning a double solo CD of his performance, song and spoken word, of his acclaimed song suite "Gentle Men", a family history of WW1 and its consequences, recorded live at Wigan Parish Church recently. The project can only go ahead if at least £1400 is pledged by 7th July 2015. You can pledge any amount from £1 upwards, but anybody who pledges £20 or more will receive a signed copy of the double CD album, plus three postcards of the cover image (exclusive to Kickstarter).
Robb's last Kickstarter project, to fund the production of the CD "Here Goes Nothing", was a great success; and now you are invited to contribute to this next project. You are only asked to pledge a contribution, and no money is taken from your card unless and until the full funding for the project is achieved.
THE ORGREAVE TRUTH AND JUSTICE DOUBLE CD
This CD, available from 9th March, features not only Robb but also many others including Matt Abbott, Attila the Stockbroker, Banner Theatre, Billy Bragg, The Black Lamps, Blaggers ITA, Blossoms, Cambodia, Chris Evans Collective, Chris T-T, Chumbawamba, Steve Drewett, Paul Heaton, The Hurriers, Jethro Platts, Joe Solo, Jon Langford, Louise Distras, The Movement, New Model Army, The Oppressed, Grace Petrie, Pitman Poet, Quiet Loner, Sleaford Mods, TV Smith, Terry and Dead, Thee Concerned Citizens, Thee Faction, Tony Walsh, Steve White and the Protest Family and Wilde Sammon. All profits go to the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. And if you buy an Enemy Within T-shirt from them, you get the CD free!
(Added 28th February 2015)
THE LATEST ALBUM...
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.
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:
(Added 21st February 2015)
RECORD STORE DAY 2015
For Record Store Day this year (the third Saturday in April, which will be 18th 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. So support your local record shop - it's a matter of use it or lose it! (Updated 21st February 2015)
MP3s AVAILABLE TO BUY
Two new MP3s, "Make Believe" and "When my Grandfather Played Football", will be released on 15th December 2014. They are available for pre-order - see more details. (Added 1st November 2014)
MIKE HARDING FOLK SHOW PODCAST
Two photos from the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival in July 2014 (taken by Jess Hurd), and two from Sidmouth Folk Week in August 2014 (taken by Chris Knight).
"US & THEM"
Released at the end of July 2014, "Us & Them" is a new acoustic album of contemporary folk songs firmly engaged with the realities of not-so-Merrie Olde Condemned Englande... songs about getting up in the morning and getting on with it, shopping centres and food banks, yuppified pubs and barefoot kids, 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, drunks and railway stations, Boris Johnson and UKIP, Terry French and the Miners’ Strike, and a celebration of the life of Bob Crow... a tender, bleak, angry, humane, bitter, witty and undefeated album, recorded as live as possible to make sure it sounds like it means it.
Read more about this record in the Catalogue Section.
(1st June 2014, updated 16th August 2014)
"SWEET JANE / BAY OF ANGELS "
This two-song vinyl single features Robb Johnson solo, and was 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.
(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 email@example.com to reserve a copy if you like.
(17th October 2013)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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):
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 now has his own page on the "Waking the Muse" blog on the Properganda web site! See http://www.propergandaonline.com/blog/?p=25809.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. At the moment, we have a world tour that takes in Leighton Buzzard, Stockwell and Ghent...
(Added 23rd June 2011. Photos by Charlie Waygood)
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you fancy one for a tenner.
(Added 26th June 2011)
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 | email@example.com. Or buy "The Liberty Tree" from Amazon with free postage!
(Added 13th December 2010)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or save on the p&p by buying yours at one of Robb's gigs.
(Added 6th July 2009, updated 5th August 2009)
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
These publicity shots are large images which open in a new window. Photo credits: Guy Smallman.