Robb Johnson tells us about his new records.
Recorded as soon as the 2021 Covid restrictions allowed, The Mystery Gets Your Number & The Poetry Makes The Call expresses both the delight at being able to make some noise again, to be working with other musicians live again, & the anger at having had to endure both a pandemic and a useless, heartless government at the same time.
Songwriting, vocals & guitar by Robb, The Irregulars on this album are John Forrester, bass & b/vox, Arvin Johnson, drums & percussion, & Fae Simon, b/vox, percussion, & lead vocal on “Start Counting”. Recorded by Ali Gavan at Brighton Road Studios, the album was originally set for release last year, but lack of funds & long turnaround time for vinyl manufacture meant Robb was able to revisit the mix, add some more guitar & generally make the album sound a bit more “Raw Power”. In the meantime he also found Press On Vinyl in Middlesborough, who have sensible turnaround times, & sold his Martin D35, which provided the missing funding. The Press On cutting engineer said it was the best album he’d worked on, and Robb thinks the Press On pressing is the best sounding album he’s had manufactured.
Stay Cool, Keep Left, Shine Bright grew out of the recording sessions that produced the Mystery / Poetry LP, adding brass & violin parts, new songs, new recordings of three audience favourites, & reworking three songs that appear on the LP. Core Irregulars John Forrester (bass), Arvin Johnson (drums & percussion) & Fae Simon (vocals & percussion) are joined by Sian Allen (trumpet), Ali Gavan (drums), Linze Maesterosa (saxophone) & Lorsey Tillbrook (violin).
The extended line-up was assembled to play the Tolpuddle Festival in 2021 – but Robb had to self-isolate when his son tested covid positive. It seemed a pity to waste all the energy & arranging & rehearsing, so Robb decided to continue the Mystery / Poetry recording project, with Ali Gavan taking the drumming seat for several of the newer recordings. The result is a truly fine album showcasing some of the best of Robb’s songwriting for electric band performance.
The Mystery Gets Your Number & The Poetry Makes The Call is released only on vinyl – Stay Cool, Keep Left, Shine Bright is released only on CD.
Label website: https://www.irregularrecords.co.uk/
‘Stand Clear’ – live at home: