Search - Paul Robeson :: Ballad for Americans

Ballad for Americans
Paul Robeson
Ballad for Americans
Genres: Blues, Folk, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists, Gospel
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1

Legendary American actor/concert performer Paul Robeson sings as deep as a well and as wide as an ocean on the reissue of Ballad for Americans. His unmistakable bass-baritone makes the rafters ring on this excellent, eloqu...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Paul Robeson
Title: Ballad for Americans
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Vanguard Records
Release Date: 9/16/1991
Genres: Blues, Folk, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists, Gospel
Styles: Traditional Blues, Traditional Folk, Singer-Songwriters, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 015707011723

Legendary American actor/concert performer Paul Robeson sings as deep as a well and as wide as an ocean on the reissue of Ballad for Americans. His unmistakable bass-baritone makes the rafters ring on this excellent, eloquent collection of spirituals, work songs, folk songs, and pop tunes. The epic 10-minute title track--composed by Earl Robinson and John LaTouche--is a compendium of American musical forms and a celebration of American spirit, delivered in a call-and-response style that finds Robeson playing a true everyman to the questioning crowd. His patriotism--as rich and complex as his voice--is in full flower here; ironic since he was driven to self-exile in Europe during the Red Scare. --Michael Ruby

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CD Reviews

Paul Robeson is my hero
William E. Adams | 03/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before Martin Luther King, before Malcolm X, before Jesse Jackson, there was Paul Robeson. Son of a minister, Phi Beta Kappa and football All-American at Rutgers, he completed law studies at Columbia University. He was a superb actor (his "Othello" was the longest-running Shakespeare play on Broadway to that time), political activist (helped unionize General Motors auto works and Welsh miners), linguist (spoke 20 languages), and communist (supporter of Soviet Union) - unfortunately, his strong stand on behalf of the Soviet Union brought down his career during the McCarthyism of the 1950s. However, he is best known to the public as a singer, a true bass of extraordinary presence and power. Probably best known for his vocalization of "Old Man River" from the musical "Showboat", Robeson made all of his performances, from classical to folk to ethnic to pop, his own.Robeson puts his mark on all of these songs - particularly "Shenandoah", "Danny Boy", and other folk songs. The "Ballad for Americans" is a tour-de-force. The arrangement is a bit dated, but the message is clear, and no one can deliver it better than Robeson.In the wake of the freedom movements of the 60s, Robeson became a forgotten figure, disabled by illness and stigmatized by his communist views. However, his magnificent voice bears testament to his contribution to the evolution of freedom and civil rights.For more information on this truly extraordinary human being, see the PBS video "Here I Stand"."
Blazing a trail for black men in so many venues...
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 03/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Paul Robeson made his lasting mark on American life as a singer instead of a politician, actor, lawyer or pro athlete primarily because it was ONLY as a singer that America offered lasting and quality opportunities. He came to manhood in the 1920's...when blacks were mostly unwanted in courtrooms, in public office, on the pro team rosters, on the screen or stage in meaningful, dignified parts. But as a concert singer, holding the stage by himself with a little help from a pianist, the entire repertoire of song, all kinds, was available. And he performed all kinds, well. This CD has some of his best recorded work...Shenandoah, On My Journey, Water Boy, Loch Lomond, Joshua Fought the Battle, and my first exposure to Robeson, Get On Board, Little Children.To many people, Robeson sounds dated, stark, too often depressing. But if you are in the lucky minority who, once having heard him, are touched emotionally, you don't care that some of his performances were captured all the way back in 1927. Other excellent selections here include Scandalize My Name, Eriskay Love Lilt, All Through the Night, Jerusalem, John Brown's Body, and the dated-for-real but historically fascinating The House I Live In and Ballad for Americans. This is just under an hour of Robeson the Magnificent...a great introduction to this important pioneer performer and civil rights fighter (yes, fighter, not leader.) His radical left political stance alienated or confused as many blacks as whites, and he lived so many of his adult years abroad, where discrimination was less of a problem, that his "fights" for dignity were often solo affairs. However, put the politics aside. If you want a CD collection representing the most important singers of the 20th Century, Robeson has to be in it, and this compilation would be a great choice."
I love this collection!
Another Tired English Major | Seattle, WA | 01/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I love this collection! What a powerful, evocative voice! My favorite is "The House I Live In." He makes so clear the hope and wistfulness and determination to make everybody's home town, and all of America, deserving of the great promise of our Constitution. It's a great lead in to "Ballad for Americans.""