The brand new version of the acclaimed Robb Johnson double CD Gentle Men is a reimagining of the original, and seminal, work, (the latter recording is now long sold out and available only as a collectors item via such web traders as eBay and Amazon). Rather than just re-pressing the 1997 version, Robb has gathered together a wonderful cast of singers and musicians to take a fresh look at this set of songs. Roy Bailey reprises his role as Robb’s grandfathers, Ern and Harry, but brings to this recording an additional authority of wisdom & experience, and Barb Jungr becomes the female voices, contributing both her perceptive understanding of song & electrifying performance skills.
I am ‐ obviously ‐ very fond and proud of these songs, so have always been wondering how to make them available again. I absolutely love the original as a performance but have always felt the writing would have benefited from a little more time for reflection. I was having trouble ending the song suite in 1997 and that version has at least three songs that attempt closure, all to varying degrees of success. In the immediate, subsequent years, the songs evolved and the suite actually grew three new songs. The current imperialist adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq ‐ sending off young Britons again to kill for Queen and Country ‐ is something I hadn’t really anticipated back in ‘97, so the original album resolution, which focused on reconciliation with songs like “The German Exchange” seemed even less successful to me. I felt it needed to be revisited and revised. I am completely moved and delighted by the way the 2013 version has evolved. The main factor for the timing is the centenary of the outbreak of ‘the war to end all wars, but I also think it’s good that it has something to say about the current political situation.