Get this crazy baby off my head!


Tom Robinson Band

Tom Robinson Band - Rising Free (The Very Best Of TRB) - 1997 - EMI

Many of Tom Robinson's songs contain socio-political, and sexual elements, even if the subject matter is not immediately evident. Songs like "2-4-6-8 Motorway" and "Power in the Darkness" are brilliant mainstream rock songs. Tom is one of England's greatest songwriters and rock musicians but not all his recorded output has received the credit it deserves. Check out his "Last Tango: Midnight at the Fringe", "North By Northwest", and "War Baby: Hope and Glory", (on which Tom does a great cover of Becker & Fagen's "Rikki Don't Lose That Number") [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 151 Mb]


1 2-4-6-8 Motorway - Robinson 3:21
2 I Shall Be Released - Dylan 4:37
3 Don't Take No For An Answer - Robinson 4:40
4 Glad To Be Gay - Robinson 4:47
5 Martin - Robinson 2:50
6 Right On Sister - Robinson, Butterfield, Kurstow, Taylor 3:28
7 Alright Jack (Live) - Robinson, Kurstow 2:37
8 Up Against The Wall - Robinson, Butterfield 3:34
9 Grey Cortina - Robinson 2:10
10 Too Good To Be True - Robinson, Taylor 3:35
11 Long Hot Summer - Robinson 4:44
12 Winter Of '79 - Robinson, Kurstow, Taylor, Ambler 4:30
13 Power In The Darkness - Robinson, Ambler 4:56
14 Waiting For My Man (Live) - Reed 4:25
15 Getting Tighter - Camicia 3:57
16 Alright All Night - Robinson, Kurstow, Taylor, Parker 3:01
17 Bully For You - Robinson, Gabriel 3:30
18 Never Going To Fall In Love...(Again) - Robinson, John 4:38


Danny Kustow - Guitar
Tom Robinson - Bass, Vocals
Mark Ambler - Keyboards
Ian Parker - Organ, Piano
Charlie Morgan, Dolphin Taylor - Drums


Although his career had pretty much flamed out by the start of the '80s, there were few punk-era major-label performers as intensely controversial as Tom Robinson. Cutting his teeth with folk-rockers Café Society (who released a Ray Davies-produced record on the head Kinks' Konk label in 1975), Robinson roared into the spotlight in 1978 with a great single ("2-4-6-8 Motorway") and a much-ballyhooed contract with EMI. What was remarkable about this was that Robinson was the kind of politically conscious, confrontational performer that major labels generally ignored: he was openly gay and sang about it ("Glad to Be Gay"), vociferous in his hatred for then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, helped form Rock Against Racism, and generally spoke in favor of any leftist political tract that would embarrass the ruling ultraconservative Tory government. His debut album, 1978's Power in the Darkness, was an occasionally stunning piece of punk/hard rock agitprop that, along with being ferociously direct, was politicized rock that focused more on songs than slogans. However, by the release of the second album, the Todd Rundgren-produced TRB Two, the songs were getting weaker and Robinson began sounding like a boring ideologue. Similarly, the band, even terrific guitarist Danny Kustow, sounds as if on automatic pilot. By the end of the '70s, Robinson had been dropped by EMI and signed to maverick major IRS as a solo act. In a wise move, he ditched the hard rock polemics of TRB for a more sophisticated pop/rock sound, but found his audience dwindling. A brief period of silence ended with him, somewhat surprisingly, signing with Geffen and releasing Hope and Glory. It was a politically tinged but mostly mainstream rock record that featured a cover of that decidedly non-punk song, Steely Dan's "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," with Robinson deftly exploring the song's homoerotic subtext. Still, it wasn't enough to resuscitate his career and for the remainder of the decade Robinson released England-only albums that tried the patience of even longtime fans. As to his current whereabouts, Robinson is (amazingly) rumored to be married to a woman and raising a family in England. He's still writing songs and occasionally performing, also working as a DJ for BBC6. © John Dougan © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3ifoxqr5ldje~T1


Tom Robinson (born 1 June 1950) is an English singer-songwriter, bassist and radio presenter, better known for the hits "Glad to Be Gay", "2-4-6-8 Motorway", and "Don't Take No for an Answer", with his Tom Robinson Band. He later peaked at #6 in the UK Singles Chart with his solo single "War Baby". Tom Robinson was born into a middle-class family in Cambridge on 1 June 1950. He attended Friends School Saffron Walden, a co-ed privately funded Quaker school, between 1961 and 1967. Robinson has two brothers and a sister: Matthew (former executive producer of BBC One's EastEnders, currently running Khmer Mekong Films in Cambodia), George and Sophy. At the age of 13, Robinson realized that he was a homosexual when he fell in love with another boy at school. At that time, same-sex activity was still a crime in England, punishable by prison. Wracked with shame and selfhatred, he had a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide at 16. A head teacher got him transferred to Finchden Manor, a therapeutic community for disturbed teenagers in Kent, where he would spend his following six years. At Finchden Manor, Robinson was inspired by John Peel's The Perfumed Garden on pirate Radio London, and by a visit from Alexis Korner. The legendary bluesman and broadcaster transfixed a roomful of people with nothing but his voice and an acoustic guitar. The whole direction of Robinson's life and career became suddenly clear to him. In 1973, Robinson moved to London and joined the acoustic trio Café Society. They impressed Ray Davies of The Kinks enough for him to produce their debut album, though it sold only 600 copies. The working relationship with Davies supposedly ended when, infuriated by Davies' lack of punctuality, Robinson sarcastically performed The Kinks' hit "Tired of Waiting for You" to him when he finally arrived at the studio. Davies retaliated with the less-than-complimentary Kinks single "Prince of the Punks", about Robinson. In London, Robinson became involved in the emerging gay scene and embraced the politics of gay liberation, which linked gay rights to the wider issues of social justice. Inspired by an early Sex Pistols gig, he left Café Society in 1976, and founded the more political Tom Robinson Band. The following year the group released the single "2-4-6-8 Motorway", which peaked at #5 in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks. The song alludes obliquely to a gay truck driver. On February 1978, the band released the live extended play Rising Free, which peaked at #18 in the UK Singles Chart and spawned the hit "Glad to Be Gay", originally written for a 1976 London gay pride parade. The song was banned by the BBC Radio 1. On May 1978, the band released its debut album, Power in the Darkness, which was very well received, peaking at #4 in the UK Albums Chart, and receiving a gold certification by the BPI. Their second album, TRB Two, however, was a commercial and critical failure, and the band broke up four months after its release. In 1980, Robinson co-wrote several songs with Elton John, including his minor hit "Sartorial Eloquence (Don't Ya Wanna Play This Game No More?)" which peaked at #39 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Robinson organized Sector 27, a less political rock band that released a critically acclaimed but unsuccessful album produced by Steve Lillywhite. The band nevertheless received an enthusiastic reception at a Madison Square Garden concert with The Police. However, their management company went bankrupt, the band disintegrated, and Robinson suffered another nervous breakdown. Desolate and in debt, Robinson fled to Hamburg, Germany. Living in a friend's spare room, he began writing again and ended up working in East Berlin with local band NO55. In 1982, Robinson penned the song "War Baby" about divisions between East and West Germany, and recorded his first solo album North By Northwest with producer Richard Mazda. "War Baby" peaked at #6 in the UK Singles Chart and at #1 in the UK Indie Chart for three weeks, reviving his career. His following single, "Atmospherics (Listen To The Radio)", peaked at #39 in the UK Singles Chart and provided him further income when it was covered by Pukka Orchestra in 1984. The Pukkas' version was a top 20 hit in Canada under the title "Listen To The Radio". Robinson's return to Britain, led to late-night performances in cabarets at the Edinburgh Fringe, some of which later surfaced on the live album Midnight at the Fringe. His career enjoyed a resurgence in the mid 90s with a trio of albums for the respected folk/roots label Cooking Vinyl. In 1986, a BBC producer offered him his own radio show on the BBC World Service. Since then, Robsinson has unusually presented programmes on all the BBC's national stations: Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4 5 Live and 6 Music. He has presented The Locker Room, a long running series about men and masculinity, for Radio 4 in the early 1990s, and later hosted the Home Truths tribute to John Peel a year after his death in 2004. In 1997, he won a Sony Academy Award for You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, a radio documentary about gay music, produced by Benjamin Mepsted. He currently presents his own show on 6 Music, featuring live music sessions, on Monday and Tuesday nights, and freelances on Radio 2's Mark Radcliffe Show and Radio 4's Something Understood, and Pick of the Week. In 1994 he wrote and presented Surviving Suicide, about his suicide attempt. Currently, Robinson rarely performs live, apart from two annual free concerts, known as the Castaway Parties, for members of his mailing list. These take place in South London and Belgium every January. In the Belgian Castaway shows, he introduces many songs in Dutch. The Castaway Parties invariably feature a wide variety of established and unknown artists and groups who have included Show Of Hands, Philip Jeays, Jan Allain, Jakko Jakszyk, Stoney, Roddy Frame, Martyn Joseph, The Bewley Brothers and Paleday alongside personal friends such as Lee Griffiths and T. V. Smith. Although widely assumed from his public posture at the time to be homosexual, Robinson is indeed bisexual. A longtime supporter and former volunteer of London's Gay Switchboard help-line, it was at a 1982 benefit party for the organization that he met Sue Brearley, the woman with whom he would eventually live and have two children, and later marry. In the mid-1990s, when Robinson became a father, the tabloids ran stories about what they deemed as a sexual orientation change, running headlines such as "Britain's Number One Gay in Love with Girl Biker!" (The Sunday People). The gay press reviled him, but Robinson continued to identify as a gay man, telling an interviewer for the Manchester Guardian: "I have much more sympathy with bisexuals now, but I am absolutely not one". "Our enemies do not draw the distinction between gay and bisexual", he added. Robinson eventually added an additional verse to "Glad to be Gay", in which he sings: "I won't wear a 'straight jacket' for you". In a 1994 interview for the Boston Globe, Robinson asserted, "We've been fighting for tolerance for the last 20 years, and I've campaigned for people to be able to love whoever the hell they want. That's what we're talking about: tolerance and freedom and liberty—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So if somebody won't grant me the same tolerance I've been fighting for for them, hey, they've got a problem, not me". In 1996, Robinson released an album about his bisexuality, titled Having It Both Ways. In 1998 his epic about bisexuality Blood Brother won three awards at the Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards in New York. Peter Tatchell criticized an article by Vanessa Thorpe about Robinson published in The Independent. In his view, "Tom Robinson has behaved rather commendably" since his relationship has been revealed by the press, once he still calls himself a gay man. "I'm campaigning for queer rights because people should be able to love who they wish, without fear of prejudice or discrimination. I don't have a problem with people switching their affections from one sex to the other. It's their life", he added. Robinson has been a strong advocate of liberty for all. He is a supporter of Amnesty International and Peter Tatchell's Outrage! human rights organization and a leader of the Rock Against Racism campaign. He is also an enthusiastic proponent of Apple computers, which he has used extensively since the mid 1980s. In 1999 and 2000, Robinson was involved in a celebrity seminar work for Apple to promote their home video editing software iMovie. A 31-year-old fictionalized vesion of Tom Robinson (portrayed by Mathew Baynton) appeared in the last episode of the first series of the BBC One drama Ashes to Ashes, as the leader of a Gay Liberation Front protest in London. He is later incarcerated with the other protestors and sings "Glad to Be Gay" in his cell. Over his career, Robinson has released more than twenty albums either as a solo performer or as a member of a group. He has also released fanclub only bootlegs known as the Castaway Club series.


A.O.O.F.C said...


P/W is aoofc

Freg said...

Listening to this now and it's fabulous. I loved the TRB! And, as a straight male, i'm very happy to sing along with "Glad To Be Gay." Surprised that "Atmospherics" and "War Baby" aren't included, though; contractual reasons, no doubt.

Cheers, Paul

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Freg. White,black,straight,crooked...Who cares? The music is the No.1 priority and Tom Robinson is a wonderful musician. There are a few TR compilations with those missing tracks. Cheers! Thanks! TTU soon...Paul

El Isabelino said...

Thanks so much for this one, Tom Robinson's voice has no equal. I've been looking for the Sector 27 Lp for a while with no luck. Any help on the matter? Gracias & Saludos.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,EI. Thanks. I haven't come across that T.R album. Is it on CD? Maybe somebody reading this could help with a link? Gracias & Saludos

Anonymous said...


just read your comments. I love the Sector 27 album. Tom Robinson himself put it on soudcloud where you can download it for free.
see https://soundcloud.com/tomrobinson


A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,KL. Thanks a million for that info. Keep in touch...Paul

El Isabelino said...

Hey KL, thanks for the info. Never crossed my mind checking soundcloud. Tom is a generous and kind man. Lotsa tunes! A.O.O.F.C thanks for all the music you share. Saludos.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,El Isabelino. Thanks for your comments and KL is terrific for supplying that info. Cheers!

Kat said...

Thanks so much for this. I hadn't ever even heard of him until today when someone posted the song Power in the Darkness. I like it so I went looking for more music to download. You came through!!


A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Kat! It's great to hear from you, and I hope you are keeping well. I regularly check your blog and I just love your evocative and descriptive blog notes. I have said this before but it is well worth repeating. I am so glad you are checking out Tom Robinson, an immensely talented singer/songwriter as well as having a very interesting and unusual life. I hope you take the time to read more about him. Thanks again! Take care, and I will TTU soon.....Paul