The original Gentle Men recording was released in 1997 by Robb Johnson in collaboration with Roy Bailey, Belgian singer Vera Coomans and Belgian jazz band Koen De Cauter and the Golden Serenaders. The album takes the form of a song cycle inspired by the experiences of Johnson’s grandfathers during the First World War, and was released as part of the Vredesconcerten Passendale (Passchendaele Peace Concerts) series. The project was an annual event, whereby a singer/group is asked to create a work in memory of Passendale (Passchendaele).
Few songwriters have the armoury to attempt a song cycle as delicate as this. The incorrigible Johnson ‐ a fringe figure for far too long ‐ is one of the few with the conviction and sensitivity to make it work MOJO
What the media said originally about the 1997 version of Gentle Men:
Moving and impressive … a compelling family history DAILY TELEGRAPH
A superb work R2 (formerly ROCK’N'REEL)
A milestone album TAPLAS
Vera, Robb and Roy