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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


Robb is going experiment with funding his next record via Kickstarter.

How it works is that people can pledge money in advance for copies of the album when it is produced, plus various other bits and pieces if you pledge a bit extra. Kickstarter process the money (which saves Robb trudging off to the PO Box), and then he sends out what people have paid for; this will be in March when it all turns up from the factory.

What we are aiming for is an LP and CD album called "Here Goes Nothing"; you can get this either as a CD or a pair of LP plus CD. The tracks will be:

  • Here Goes Nothing
  • Autumn Song
  • North By Northeast
  • Yellow House
  • The Rose and Crown
  • Big Man Waiting For His Train
  • The Ghost Dance
  • The Magic Tonight

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:

  • John Forrester,bass
  • Arv Johnson, drums
  • Linze Maesterosa, sax
  • Roger Stevens, Keyboards,
  • with guest violin from Attila the Stockbroker on Big Man, the song for our friend Roy Chuter.

Read all about the Kickstarter offers on Robb's Kickstarter page and consider giving the record a bit of a ... ahem ... kickstart.


For Record Store Day this year (the third Saturday in April, which will be 18th April) Robb is planning a 7" single "At the Top of this Wheel" / "Cheap and Cheerful". You can also get a T-shirt, plus an exclusive CD containing two bonus band tracks, "Bella Vita" and "The Midnight Train", and acoustic versions of the songs on the album, plus also MP3 versions of songs recorded live at last year's "Bah Humbug" gig.


Robb says:

The traditional Bah! Humbuh! limited edition CD will be on sale once more. This year, it contains ten songs, and although some songs have been out & about already (eg "Hands Off Hove Park") & a couple were part of the subscription project earlier this year ("Ballad of the NHS"and "Hello Ana") the songs have been recorded properly this time at Transmission, there's some uncharacteristic tasteful overdubs and extras, and the album includse five songs that I think haven't been recorded or even played live before. I'm unusually happy with this Humbug - and there's also not a Christmas song on it!

You can purchase the artefacts at the gigs (though at the moment we are not 100% sure the Christmas single will actually arrive in time for the 14th). You can also get them via mail order through PO Box 5143, Hove, BN52 9FT. Both single and CD cost a tenner each, + £2 postage, package and compensation for having to queue up for ages at the post office while Mrs Crevett tries to mail a Christmas cactus to her cousin in South Saskatchewan. BUT if you order both together, instead of £12 each, call it 20 quid for the pair (or indeed, order two of the same thing) cheques payable to Robb Johnson.  OR - and this is the really exciting part - Head Records in Bromley, Resident Records and Cult Hero in Brighton will be stocking* copies of the Christmas single (Make Believe / When my Grandfather Played Football)!!! So you can actually walk into a record shop and BUY the Christmas single!!!!! Christmas tradition or what? (Added 13th December 2014)

When Mike Harding played "When my Grandfather Played Football" on his Sunday podcast he described it as "an absolutely wonderful song". As well as being sold in the record shops named above, this single is also available as a download from iTunes, Amazon etc. (Added 21st December 2014)

* Oh yes, very Christmassy - Ed.


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)


We were been notified by Mike Harding that he would be including one of Robb's songs - "Banks of England" from "Us and Them" - on his weekly podcast. It will be available online from 5pm on Sunday 7th September, and can be listened on the player for a week. After that it will be available in the Podcast Archive once the following week's podcast goes live - it will be Podcast No. 89.


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).

Tolpuddle - photo by Jess Hurd

Tolpuddle - photo by Jess Hurd


Sidmouth - photo by Chris Knight

Sidmouth - photo by Chris Knight


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)


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.

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

(1st December 2013 updated 6th January 2014)


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 to reserve a copy if you like. 

(17th October 2013)


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


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."


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)


Yes, Robb has succumbed to the 21st Century and now has a Facebook Presence. Marvel at it at 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


 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

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 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 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 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 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 . Don't stop when you get to the end of that - there's more! An interview with Geoff Wall starts at And there are even two or three introductory paragraphs at

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

(Added 27th April 2011)


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 | 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 (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

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, 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)


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

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.