This new album from Robb Johnson & The Irregulars follows hot on the heels of his last album Eurotopia that came out at the end of January, if this had been a normal year, the band would have spent part of the year touring the album, rather than locked down at home watching the pandemic unfold and writing and recording this album as a response to it, in the traditional folk way of commenting on current events.
From the opening Saint Mary we are taking a deep look at the myths and realities of what's happened in the last year and mainly the first half of 2020 and the rumors and ideas of what caused Covid 19 in a moving folk rock way, but really in the tradition of the folk song as a way of conveying news that possibly our lords and masters don't want us to know as the Bankers stop counting the dead as we close everything down.
Monday Afternoon In The Paris House is about the bands final gig before lockdown and the world changed beyond comprehension, over a tune that reminds me of Party Time by The Jazz Butcher but played in a quite downhearted way.
422 is about the start of lockdown as normality vanishes and the new reality begins over carefully strummed acoustic guitar full of regret for what they can no longer do.
One More Lockdown Day is a surreal take on what became normality in Lockdown of the queues outside supermarkets, the shortage of masks and ventilators, the slowly unfolding tragedy and repetition of nothingness that our lives started to become, as we all went to clap the NHS, well apart from people like my Girlfriend whose shift in the Intensive care unit finished or started at 8pm meaning most of the staff never heard the clapping on just One More Lockdown Day.
5373 is a song of the death toll, the ever rising figure, is it rising quicker or slower and why aren't the band on tour in Paris instead, as normal life has gone away and what is an acceptable death toll, with anger and bile for the response to the coming virus by the authorities in the UK and elsewhere who didn't take it seriously enough.
89p was the price of the badge our delusional government made to celebrate the NHS, well everyone I know working in the NHS has as much contempt for the idea, as this song does, as well as many of the other gob smacking things to happen this year.
Disinfectant to use it on surfaces, Bathe in, or just inject it, as we hear a modern hymnal folk song to the joys of Trumps suggestions for curing the virus, this should have a video on the lines of the Heroin just say no ads from the 80's, but with someone like Trump suffering DT's from not enough Domestos in his veins just don't do it kids.
The Highlight Of My Week when your one trip out the house for the week is to go get the shopping, yes they scored some Paracetamol and Toilet roll, didn't even have to see a dodgy geezer to get what he needed, this has an almost hymnal quality to it, very calm and downbeat like the world has felt for much of this year.
All The Bells Were Ringing is a rare song indeed one that dreams of being able to walk down Hounslow High Street and actually go in the shops and behave how you used too, with all the bars open, even the pub where Jimi Hendrix played one of his first British gigs, not that the song mentions that Hounslow story.
Lockdown Jokes & Stories takes aim at the sort of radio and TV news asking for normal stories of Lockdown life, as we hear the awful stories of the deaths of Belly Mujinga, Mervyn Kennedy and Louisa Rajakumari set against Dominic Cummings and his trip to Durham and just how wide the gap is between the elite and the rest of us. I'll dedicate this song to Spenser Kurash my childhood friend who died of Covid 19 driving his cab.
Victory In Europe has it's jaw on the floor at the idea that 60000 Europeans dying of Covid 19 might be considered a victory, as talk of saving the economy and not stockpiling the equipment, they knew they needed, if this ever happened. How many of us will die due to our politician's parsimony?
The Days We Don't Forget is looking forward to normality returning whatever that might be, as he asks who was doing all the jobs that have remained essential through lockdown, thankfully most of us avoided being on manual extraction duty in the Intensive Care unit, how can we forget and just go back to the status quo once more, this song has the best guitar solo on the album as we don't Forget.
In Palmeira Square is about the day the pubs and other shops were allowed to re-open in a limited way, and how happy we are to see each other again.
The album closes with the heart-breaking Big Floyd a song in tribute to the abhorrent murder of George Floyd, his life snatched away so needlessly and the incredible uprising of anger his murder has unleashed.
Find out more at www.robbjohnson.co.uk https://www.facebook.com/robbjohnsonofficial/