Paul Robeson - Songs of Free Men: Recital

Paul Robeson - Songs of Free Men: Recital
Recording Date: January 27, 1942 - November 8, 1947
Artist: Paul Robeson
Duration: 01:09:46
Release Date: December 9, 1997
Album: Songs of Free Men: Recital
Styles: Gospel, Traditional Gospel, Traditional Pop
Genre: Vocal

Culled from six concerts given in the 1940s, with most of its tracks previously released on 78 rpm albums in that decade, this disc, as annotator Paul Robeson, Jr., notes, presents Paul Robeson at the peak of his singing career (from age 44 to 49) and recreates a typical recital.

Robeson sings spirituals, folk songs from various countries in various languages, classical pieces and theater music, including works by Felix Mendelssohn, Marc Blitzstein (a brilliant "The Purest Kind of Guy" from No for an Answer), Earl Robinson, George Gershwin, and, of course, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II ("I Still Suits Me" and "Ol' Man River" from Show Boat). Robeson is accompanied by his usual pianist, Lawrence Brown, on the first 17 tracks and by the Columbia Concert Orchestra on the remaining eight. The sound quality is remarkably clear, showing little evidence of the 50-year-old (and older) sources.

As a result, Robeson's amazing bass-baritone is revealed in all its power, as is a sense of enunciation and presentation that perfectly suits a wide range of material. Released shortly before Robeson's centenary, this album is a fitting tribute to him.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Balm in Gilead / TraditionalPaul Robeson2:26
Chassidic Chant / Lehman EngelPaul Robeson2:40
From Border to BorderPaul Robeson2:46
Oh, How Proud Our Quiet DonPaul Robeson3:18
The Lord God of Abraham / Felix MendelssohnPaul Robeson3:07
The Purest Kind of Guy / Marc BlitzsteinPaul Robeson3:20
Joe Hill / Anthony Hayes / Earl RobinsonPaul Robeson2:40
The Peat Bog SoldiersPaul Robeson2:25
The Four Insurgent Generals / TraditionalPaul Robeson2:25
Native LandPaul Robeson2:17
Song of the PlainsPaul Robeson3:04
Cradle SongPaul Robeson3:49
Within Four Walls / Modest MussorgskyPaul Robeson3:30
By an' ByPaul Robeson2:26
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child / TraditionalPaul Robeson2:27
John Henry / TraditionalPaul Robeson2:27
Water Boy / Avery RobinsonPaul Robeson2:30
My Curly Headed Baby / George H. ClutsamPaul Robeson2:44
Mah Lindy Lou / Lily StricklandPaul Robeson3:09
Wagon Wheels / Peter DeRose / Billy HillPaul Robeson2:42
The House I Live In / Allen Lewis / Earl RobinsonPaul Robeson3:08
I Still Suits Me / Oscar Hammerstein II / Jerome KernPaul Robeson2:32
Sylvia / Oley SpeaksPaul Robeson2:06
Ol' Man River / Oscar Hammerstein II / Jerome KernPaul Robeson3:09
It Ain't Necessarily So / George Gershwin / Ira GershwinPaul Robeson2:39

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