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Songs of Free Men/ A Paul Robeson Recital
Joe Utterback, Lehman Engel, Ivan Ivanovich Dzerzhinsky
Songs of Free Men/ A Paul Robeson Recital
Genres: Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists, Gospel
 
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1

There was nothing like the Robeson sound, ever. To describe his deep, rich, perfectly equalized instrument is futile. Go instead to "Balm in Gilead," the opening track, and see if you can listen to the last pianissimo phra...  more »

      
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There was nothing like the Robeson sound, ever. To describe his deep, rich, perfectly equalized instrument is futile. Go instead to "Balm in Gilead," the opening track, and see if you can listen to the last pianissimo phrase without falling to pieces. Robeson was at his best when the music was slow and the words contained spiritual or social messages. Faster, lighter fare like Kern's "I Still Suits Me" or Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So" find the serious-minded singer out of his element, lacking irony and swing. "Old Man River," though, gets a simple, dignified treatment. It's Songs of Free Men, though, that will just keep Robeson's artistry rolling along, especially in Sony's astonishing transfers. --Jed Distler

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Member CD Reviews

LuAnn O. from MILTON, PA
Reviewed on 6/9/2016...
Clear, masterful performances of a variety of genres from a man with an unforgettable voice. Of course, Ol' Man River is here, but another wonderful rendition is The House I Live In, very fitting to our day as well as when it was written. One of the most enjoyable CDs I've gotten in a while. Both the piano accompaniment and the orchestral are very fitting and the sound quality is very good.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

CD Reviews

Robeson at his best
05/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's hard to believe that most of these recordings pre-date the advent of magnetic tape: the CD transfer is superlative. The songs and performance are beyond reproach. Notable is the imaginative packaging in miniature 'record album' format, complete with the original cover art by Alex Steinweiss, and a replica of the original Columbia record label applied to the CD.

In response to a previous question: Robeson's performance of Danny Boy (Londonderry Air) can be found on the Vanguard LP entitled "Robeson" (VRS-9037)."
Some of the greatest songs of the last century
T. Bekken | Austmarka Norway | 05/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In the 1940s, before rabid McCarthyism and racism had taken its toll on him, Robeson made these wonderful recordings of spirituals, classics and pop tunes. Accompanied by the solo piano of the incomparable Lawrence Brown, or by an orchestra, the songs ring out with pride, dignity, skill and unmatched integrity. The shameful treatment that Robeson was subject to from American authorities certainly seem grotesquely absurd to a modern listener. The wonderful version of "The House I Live In" included on this cd should forever kill off any suspicion that Robeson did not love his country deeply. This album ought to be heard by millions of people, world wide. Robeson's voice is nothing less than a glorious high point in 20th century music, and it's hard to think of any recording capturing it to greater advantage."