Robb Johnson's Official Web Site

Robb Johnson - Catalogue

All Robb's earlier recordings, before IRR048, are now deleted. All the recordings are listed here, the most recent first - along with the biography of Yoko Ono of which Robb is a co-author.

IRR223: ORDINARY GIANTS (November 2018)

A major project, Ordinary Giants is a triple-CD song suite by acclaimed songwriter Robb Johnson based on the life and times of his father, Ron Johnson. It’s a family history of the 1930s, the Second World War and the Welfare State, performed by over 30 people. There are songs and spoken word pieces about the social realities of the 30s, the growth of fascism, the experience of the second world war, the NHS, comprehensive schools, anti-racism and the attacks on the welfare state by the Right.  Some of the songs are funny, some are sad, some are love songs and some are political satires. The album is dedicated to the generation that built the welfare state, and a celebration of the idea that we can make a better world through collective action.

Buy Ordinary Giants from the distributors, Discovery; or, to buy with Paypal, e-mail info@irregularrecords.co.uk for details.

IRR105V: THE BEAUTIFUL DARK (2017)

Released for Record Store day 2017, "The Beautiful Dark" is a 10" vinyl release, featuring six post-punk existentialist blues: The Night Cafe, The Bay of Angels, The Big Wheel, You and This City, The Beautiful Dark and The Karl Marx City Blues. Recorded live in the studio by the genius that is Ali Gavan, performed by the Best Regards Band - Jenny Carr (piano), John Forrester (bass), Arvin Johnson (drums) and Robb on guitar and vocals, these six songs represent one collection of some of Robb's more enduring songs. Robb says: "The performances by Jen and John and Arv are magnificent, the sound on the vinyl is superb,and this is an album I am particularly proud of".

IRR100: MY BEST REGARDS (2016)

My Best Regards, an album of 13 songs, 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 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.

A REASONABLE HISTORY OF IMPOSSIBLE DEMANDS (February 2016)

A five-CD retrospective box set, with a 64-page booklet.

IRR099: GENTLE MEN, A SOLO PERFORMANCE (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.

IRR095: CHEAP AND CHEERFUL / THE TOP OF THIS WHEEL (April 2015)

For Record Store Day 2015 Robb 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 (May 2015)

This CD from Robb and the Irregulars comes as either a regular CD, or as a CD and vinyl LP pairing. This was the first record funded via Kickstarter, and it was a huge success, with the costs oversubscribed.

IRR093V: MAKE BELIEVE / WHEN MY GRANDFATHER PLAYED FOOTBALL (December 2014)

The 2014 Christmas single was 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.

IRR091: US & THEM (July 2014)

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.

IRR090: SWEET JANE / WINE AND ROSES(April 2014)

A vinyl single, one song on each side. Released on Record Store Day 2014.

IRR088 and IRR089: GENTLE MEN (11th November 2013)

Robb's highly acclaimed "family history of the First World War and its consequences" was made available both in a double CD digipack version and as part of a 120-page book version. Robb 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 included several new songs, and was performed by a new cast of superb singers and musicians. Roy Bailey reprised his role as Robb's grandfathers, while Barb Jungr sang the female voices, and accompaniment was provided by Robb, Jude Abbott, Jenny Carr and John Forrester.

IRR087V: WEST PIER SERENADE (April 2013)

Issued as a vinyl album with free CD, and released on Record Store Day 2013.

IRR085: BRING DOWN THE MOON (April 2013)

From Robb and the Acoustic Irregulars

Robb says: "This record was 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."

IRR083 or IRRV083V (Vinyl): HAPPILY EVER AFTER (2012)

From Robb and the Irregulars.

Robb says: "Although I know that what I do is often thought of in terms of being political and/or lyric-based, I have also always enjoyed very much playing electric guitar in noisy bands at gigs where complete strangers have a good time and get up and dance, which is what happens with the Irregulars."

IRR082 or IRRV082V (Vinyl): ONCE UPON A TIME (November 2011)

From Robb and the Irregulars.

Robb's first full electric band recording since 2008. Recorded as live as possible, with only the vocals, a harmonica part and tambourine overdubs, the album is a superbly loud and lively collection of songs set against the fairy-tales of contemporary Britain and Europe.

IRR080: SOME RECENT PROTEST SONGS (July 2011)
IRR077: MAN WALKS INTO A PUB (September 2010)

A solo acoustic album.

IRR076: THE GHOST OF LOVE (November 2009)

From Robb and the Irregulars.

THE LIBERTY TREE (2009)

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.

IRR075: MARGARET THATCHER: MY PART IN HER DOWNFALL - DELUXE" (2009)

A 4-CD set from Robb and the Irregulars, which includes the first two vinyl albums ("Skewed, Slewed, Stewed & Awkward" and "Small Town World"), plus bonus tracks; a collection of band/group recordings; and a collection of solo recordings.

IRR068: LOVE & DEATH & POLITICS (2008)

A 14-track studio album from Robb and the Irregulars.

IRR066: ALL THAT WAY FOR THIS(2007)

Robb and the Irregulars.

IRR063: SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE FIRE STATION (2006)

From Robb and the Irregulars.

A live recording of Robb’s 50th birthday gig. The 14 songs include current favourites, old favourites and 3 unreleased songs. It's a noisy, warts'n'all record of a splendid night out.

IRR059: METRO (2005)

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.

IRR058: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE (2005)

18 tracks, voice and guitar, recorded “live” in the studio; a collection of new versions of current live favourites, rarities and six new songs.

IRR054: TONY BLAIR: MY PART IN HIS DOWNFALL (2004)

A double album containing 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 (2003)

Twelve songs about football, life and west London recorded live at Stripes Bar.

IRR048: CLOCKWORK MUSIC (2003)

All twelve 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 (2002)

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.

IRR045: THE TRIUMPH OF HOPE OVER EXPERIENCE (2002)

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 one of the most ambitious and exciting albums musically that Robb has recorded so far.

IRR043: 21st CENTURY BLUES (2001)

Robb with Miranda Sykes and Saskia Tomkins

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.

IRR042: MARGARET THATCHER: MY PART IN HER DOWNFALL (2000)

A new recording of 20 of Robb’s older songs, including the agit-prop kiddies singalong “The Animals Song” for which he first became well-known, or notorious, depending on your political point of view.

IRR036: THE BIG WHEEL (1999)

14 songs, acoustic guitar-based. All enhanced by excellent contributions from Philip Hoessen (accordion), Leon Rosselson (2nd guitar), Miranda Sykes (double bass) and Saskia Tomkins (violin and cello).

IRR032: YEAH YEAH YEAH (1998)

The Robb Johnson Band

17 songs recorded between 1991 and 1998, chronicling the “commercially suicidal” life and times of the electric band, including “The Bells Of Freedom” and “We Hate The Tories”.

IRR030: GENTLE MEN (double CD) (1997)

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.

IRR029: INVISIBLE PEOPLE (1997)

13 songs, some solo and some seriously noisy, with longtime electric RJB rhythm section Huggy Harewood and Paul Mullineux plus rootsbanders Larcombe and Mann.

IRR027: OVERNIGHT (1996)

14 songs, solo voice and acoustic guitar, a re-recording of most of the songs from the no longer available 1991 “Overnight” album, but with additional songs – unreleased, unrecorded or from demo cassettes – also included.

IRR026: HELL’S KITCHEN (1996)

Robb Johnson Roots Band

13 songs aided and abetted by Steafan Hannigan, Maggie Holland, Fiona Larcombe, Terry Mann and Rory McLeod.

IRR025: THE NIGHT CAFÉ (1995)

13 songs, solo voice and acoustic guitar, from the long dark night-café of the soul…

WOMAN: THE INCREDIBLE LIFE OF YOKO ONO (2004)

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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