The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (79): I never died, said he

The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (79): I never died, said he


norman lebrecht

June 02, 2020

The inimitable Paul Robeson.


  • Phil Davison says:

    Joe Hill is a hero to many. This is my favourite Paul Robeson song.

    • david hilton says:

      And, to many who have investigated his case, such as novelist Wallace Stegner and US Senate Judiciary Committee in the 1990’s, he remains not so much as hero, as a justly convicted murderer.

  • Player says:

    Beautiful singing and very moving, especially Going Home. Thanks for sharing.

  • George says:

    Thanks Norman.

  • RobK says:

    And ardent supporter of Joe Stalin….

    • jbb says:

      I don’t understand the ‘down’ votes. It is a fact Robeson had Soviet sympathies and ties and was a de facto propaganda arm of the party.

      • Bruce says:

        Common knowledge. Maybe people nowadays recognize that Communism was never the threat that we made it out to be (not the same as saying it was no threat at all), and that Robeson’s criticisms of the US were valid and still are. It’s also common knowledge that the HUAC was a joke.

        • Beumont says:

          “Maybe people nowadays recognize that Communism was never the threat that we made it out to be”
          Completely agree – 120,000,000 corpses and counting aren’t really that bad, are they – maybe you should talk to people from eastern Europe who had to live under this fascist system…

          • Bruce says:

            Perhaps I should have said “the threat TO THE US that we (the US) made it out to be.”

  • Bruce says:

    “Joe Hill” was one of the songs I learned from listening to recordings of him as a child. Also “Old Man River” and others. I didn’t know from protest songs; my parents just put the music on and let us enjoy it.

    His “Shenandoah” is wonderful too:

    (The monologue from Boris Godunov kind of went over my head at age 8, sorry; but at least it taught me that he wasn’t just a singer of “pretty” songs.)

    I had no idea, at that time, that he was anything more than just (just – ha) a wonderful singer. This testimony recording is mighty impressive.

  • John Salter says:

    Sincere thanks for that!

  • Derek says:

    Magnificent voice, somehow comforting, reassuring.

    I remember – Old Man River, Shenandoah, Summertime, Let my people go etc. all being played at home when I was growing up.

  • Steven says:

    How many people know that Paul Robeson, in addition to being an All-American football player at Rutgers University, was also the valedictorian of its Class of 1919? Or that after graduation there, he earned a law degree from Columbia Law School?

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    And how many people know how supportive he was to the miners of south east Wales who walked all the way to Westminster to try and get help? He heard them singing in Trafalgar Square and immediately did his best to help, he is remembered with love and respect here.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    No one has yet mentioned the superb spoken-voice Othello he recorded.
    Great voice, great actor, great musician, great man.

  • ira says:

    my gratitude for posting the huac testimony