\ Irish Rock Discography: The Johnstons


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The Johnstons

From: Slane, Co.Meath

Active: 1966 - 1973

Style: Folk

Lineup:

Bio:

The Johnstons were a family folk group who were immensely popular in Ireland in the late 1960s. They recorded both traditional and contemporary folk material, some of the latter straying into folk-rock and pop-folk areas on occasion.

The original lineup consisted of sisters Adrienne and Lucy Johnston singing close-harmony, backed by their brother Michael on acoustic 12-string guitar. This trio signed to Pye Records in 1965 and scored their only Irish #1 hit with their first single, a cover of Ewan MacColl's "The Travelling People". Several more successful singles followed over 1966-67 which are collected on the "Travelling People" album released on Marble Arch in 1968.

Mick Moloney joined the band as second guitarist to boulster their live sound in late 1966 or early 1967. Moloney was a traditional musician who'd been with The Emmet Folk Group with Donal Lunny and Brian Bolger and had opened a folk club on Harcourt St in Dublin where the Johnstons had performed.

Michael Johnston left the group somewhat relucantly in June 1967. His replacement was Paul Brady (ex The Inmates / The Kult (1965), Rootzgroop (1965-66), and Rockhouse (1966)). This created the line-up which signed to Transatlantic Records in 1968 and recorded seven albums over a five year period, ending in 1972. This is the lineup that is best known today.

The self-titled debut album released in 1968 contains all traditional folk material. After it's release the band relocated to London, in January 1969, and recorded two albums designed to show both sides of the band, traditional folk ("The Barleycorn"), and contemporary folk ("Give A Damn"). These were released by Transatlantic Records on the same day. By the end of the year Lucy decided to leave and returned to Ireland in November 1969. She became a successful photographer.



1969 Transatlantic promotional booklet

The remaining members continued as a trio, recording the fourth album "The Bitter Green" (1969) which contained both contamporary folk and traditional folk songs but also brought imaginative contemporary-influenced arrangements to the latter. It was the first sign of the band stretching the formula but is still mild by folk-rock standards.

Traditional material was absent completely from "Colours Of The Dawn" (1970) which found a more natural home on Vangaurd Records in the USA (the band's previous US label was Tetragramaton). Half the songs were Brady originals, who was now emerging as a songwriter.

The Johnstons began to spend more time in the USA, spending three months touring there in 1971, including an apparance at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August. This tour coincided with the release of "Colours Of The Dawn" on Vanguard Records in September 1971. The contemporary material began to dominate and for this reason Mick chose to leave towards the end of the year. He favoured the traditional material but his bandmates preferred the contempary. Mick later emigrated to the USA to study and released solo albums.

By 1972 the band was duo of Adrienne Johnston and Paul Brady, who signed to Mercury Records in the USA in May that year. The Johnstons released one final LP, "If I Sang My Song" (1972), the majority of the songs coming from the pen of Brady and his co-writer Chris McLoud. The album boasted backing musicians such as Tim Hart, Royston Wood, and Rick Kemp but would prove to be the band's last.

A replacement for Moloney was eventually found in Gavin Spencer but the band split soon after in 1973. Adrienne remained in the USA where she recorded a solo LP but died tragically in 1981.

Paul Brady went on to Planxty, solo albums on Mulligan Records, the superb Brady & Irvine album and eventually a highly successful if artistically bland singer-songwriter solo career in the 1980s and beyond.

Singles Discography:

• Travelling People / Going Home
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17144 - IRL - July 1966
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17144 - UK - July 1966 - sides reversed
Spent 7 weeks in the Irish charts, peaking at #1.
Lineup: Adrienne, Lucy & Michael Johnston


• The Alamo / Life of the Rover
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17205 - IRL/UK - November 1966
Lineup: Adrienne, Lucy & Michael Johnston


• The Curragh of Kildare / Leaving London
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17315 - IRL/UK - May 1967
Spent 8 weeks in the Irish charts, peaking at #11.
Lineup: Adrienne, Lucy & Michael Johnston and Mick Moloney


• I Will Never Marry / Banks Of Claudy
7" - Target Records - 7N 17430 - IRL - January 1968
7" - Pye Records - 7N 17430 - UK - February 1968
Spent 7 weeks in the Irish charts, peaking at #8.
Lineup: Adrienne & Lucy Johnston, Mick Moloney and Paul Brady


• They'll Never Get Their Man / Dublin Jack Of All Trades
7" - Transatlantic - TRA SP 17 - UK - 1968 - no PS


• Both Sides Now / Urge For Going
7" - Big T (Transatlantic) Records - BIG 113 - UK - August 1968
7" - Tetragramaton Records - T-1507 - USA - 1968
7" - Polydor Records - 541.019 - Canada - 1968
7" - Astor Records - A-7120 - Australia - 1968
7" - Pye Records - 7N 25465 - New Zealand - 1968
7" - Movieplay Records - SN20281 - Spain - 1969 - PS
Spent 6 weeks in the Irish charts, peaking at #12.



• Give A Damn / Walking Out On Foggy Mornings
7" - Big T (Transatlantic) Records - BIG 116 - UK - 1968
Originally recorded by Spanky And Our Gang.



• Give A Damn / Funny In A Sad Sad Way
7" - BYG Records - 129 007 - France - 19?? - PS



• Give A Damn / My House
7" - Sonet Records - T 9543 - Denmark - 1969 - PS



• My House / The Wherefore And The Why
7" - Big T (Transatlantic) Records - BIG 121 - UK - 3 April 1969
7" - Tetragramaton Records - T-1530 - USA - 1969
7" - Polydor Records - 541045 - Canada 1969


• Gleanntain Ghlas Ghaoth Dobhair / An Banbh
7" - Gael Linn Records - CES 10 - IRL - 1969 - PS



• Streets Of London / The Spanish Lady
7" - Big T (Transatlantic) Records - BIG 132 - UK - 1970
7" - Transatlantic Records - BIG 505 - UK - 1 Sep 1972 - reissue



• Streets Of London / Streets Of London
7" - Sire Records - SI-4119 - USA - 1970 - promo only



• Continental Trailways Bus / The Morning Of Our Love
7" - Transatlantic Records - BIG 501 - UK - 10 March 1972
7" - Transatlantic Records - M25.437 - Germany - 1972 - PS
7" - Mercury Records - 73287 - USA - 1972


• Continental Trailways Bus / The Wind In My Hands
7" - Belter / Transatlantic Records - 06.018 - Spain - 1970


Album Discography:

• V/A - Irish Cabaret, Jury's Hotel Dublin
LP - Pye Records - NPL 18186 - UK - 1967


• The Travelling People
LP - Marble Arch Records - MAL 808 - UK 1968
LP - Hallmark Records - HMA237 - UK 1972 - slightly altered cover
Collects the first four singles and the Jury's Cabaret LP tracks from 1966-67

Notes: Hallmark resequenced the album for reissue (resequenced order is 1, 4, 9, 2, 10, 7, 3, 5, 6, 8).



• The Johnstons
LP - Transatlantic Records - TRA 169 - UK - 1968
CD - Castle Essential - ??? - UK 2002 - paired with "The Barleycorn"
The true debut album.



• Give A Damn [UK title]
LP - Transatlantic Records - TRA 184 - UK - 1969
CD - Castle Essential - ??? - UK 2002 - paired with "Bitter Green"
• Both Sides Now [US title]
LP - Tetragramaton Records - T-110 - USA - 1969 - different title/track listing

Notes: Released on the same day as the more traditional "The Barley Corn" LP, this is a collection of imaginative arrangements of contemporary material, all covers. This album came out in the US under a different title "Both Sides Now" with tracks resequensed and two tracks substitued ("Urge for Going" and "Julia" omitted in favour of "Wherefore and Why" and "My House").



• The Barley Corn [original title]
LP - Transatlantic Records - TRA 185 - UK - 1969
CD - Castle Essential - ??? - UK 2002 - paired with the debut
• Ye Jacobites By Name [reissue title]
LP - Contour Records - 2870 378 - UK 197? - as "Ye Jacobites By Name" with one extra track

Notes: All tracks trad.arr.



• Bitter Green
LP - Transatlantic Records - TRA 211 - UK - 1969
CD - Castle Essential - ??? - UK 2002 - paired with "Give A Damn"



• Colours Of The Dawn
LP - Transatlantic Records - TRA 231 - UK - 1970
LP - Vanguard Records - VSD-6572 - USA - 1971
CD - Vanguard Wooded Hill - HILL 9 - USA - 1998



• If I Sang My Song [UK title]
LP - Transatlantic Records - TRA 251 - UK - 1972
• The Johnstons [US title]
LP - Mercury Records - SRM-1-640 - USA - 1972 - as "The Johnstons" in different cover artwork



Compilations:

• The Johnstons Sampler
LP - Transatlantic Records - SAM 16 - UK - 1970

Notes: compilation 1968-70 including non-LP tracks.



• The Johnstons Anthology
LP - Transatlantic Records - MTRA 2012 - UK 1978


• Streets of London
LP/K7 - Sonas Records - SOLP 1004 - IRL 1978


• Streets of London
LP - Decca Records - 4175254 - UK? 197?
Probably the same release as the Sonas album above.


• The Transatlantic Years
CD - Transatlantic/Demon Records - CD13 - UK 1993



• Give A Damn: The Folk Rock Years
CD - Castle Records - ??? - UK - 2003
CD - Vivid Records - VSCD-1972 - Japan? - 2003

    Tracklisting
    Give a Damn (Dorough/Scharf)
    Julia (Jon Ledingham)
    Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)
    Urge for Going (Joni Mitchell)
    I Don't Mind the Rain on Monday (Bowen/Caroll)
    The Apprentice's Song
    You Keep Going Your Way (Dave Cousins)
    Funny in a Sad, Sad Way (Shay Healy)
    Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye (Leonard Cohen)
    Walking Out on Foggy Mornings (Jon Ledingham)
    Jesus Was A Carpenter
    The Gypsy
    The Story Of Isaac
    Bitter Green
    Marcie
    Hello Friend
    Brightness, She Came
    If I Could
    Colours Of The Dawn
    I'll Be Gone In The Morning
    Won't You Come With Me?
    December Windows
    Continental Trailways Bus

Notes: Compilation claiming to collect "the Folk Rock Years" but as you can see it spans the bands career and is more accurately described as "the Folk Rock Recordings".




Adrienne Johnston

From: Slane, Co.Meath

Active: 1973-81

Style:

Bio:

Adrienne Johnston remained in the USA after the Johnstons split in 1973. She recorded just one solo album, in 1975, which included contributions from several notable musicians including Simon Nicol, Gerry Conway and Pat Donaldson. She died in 1981.

Adrienne Johnston Discography:

• So Long To Dublin / If Poems Died Like Promises
7" - EMI Records - IEMI 5011 - IRL - 1975 - PS?
Credited to The Johnstons on the label.


• Adrienne Johnston Of The Johnstons
LP - EMI Records - EMC 6002 - IRL 1975
LP - RCA Records - SF8416 - UK 1975

Notes: All songs by Chris McCloud (1), Chris McCloud & Paul Brady (2,3,4,6,7) and Chris McCloud & Adrienne Johnston (5,8,9). Produced by Chris McCloud.






See Also: Paul Brady, Mick Moloney


Help!: We need your help to complete this entry. If you can tell us more about this band then please do! We welcome any corrections, missing details, connections to other bands, where are they now, etc. We also need photos, scans, copies of releases or live or demo recordings, and any other memorabilia gathering dust in the attic. If you can help, then please get in touch.




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