The Very Best Of Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson
FORMAT: Audio CD - 2 Disc
Release date: 2 Oct 2009


"This collection provides a good overview of Robeson's music via two discs"  RECORD COLLECTOR

CAT No: FVDD033UPC TEXT: 5055311000336

Full details

Born in New Jersey in 1898 Paul Robeson is remembered as a remarkable singer with a magically distinctive bass voice, and a personality who, as well as being a superb entertainer, saw his art as having a wider human purpose. By 1923, after excelling at college both academically and on the sports field (he was an All-American football player) and having faced the indignation of a white secretary refusing to take dictation from him whilst he was at Princeton law school, he started to mark his career as singer and actor playing the lead in a play called “Taboo”. His big break came a year later when he was asked to perform with the renowned Provincetown players. He split much of the ensuing decade between his love for both the stage and the microphone.

In 1925 he became the first person to perform spirituals in a formal concert setting at the Greenwich Village Theatre. In 1928 he commenced a recording career, including many sides for His Master’s Voice. It was during the thirties that he started to become politically aware, supporting the cause of the Welsh miners (Manic Street Preachers wrote a track after him called “Let Robeson Sing”), protesting at the Nazi’s treatment of the Jews in Germany, and generally espousing humanitarian causes. He also became a sympathizer with the aims and ideals of the Soviet Union, which landed him in trouble with the US Administration of the time. Robeson, who also appeared in 11 movies throughout his career, died in 1975 of a stroke. He is fondly remembered by millions around the world for different reasons, for his acting, his political ideals but perhaps, most of all, for his music This 45-track collection comprises a considerable proportion of his best-known recordings.

The first CD features the recordings he made over the years with orchestral accompaniment, while the second CD consists of performances he gave with either a simple piano accompanist or, as on “John Henry” and “Water Boy”, a guitar and harmonica. Also included are two versions of the classic “Ol’ Man River” – a longer version with orchestral backing from “Showboat” from 1932 and a ‘live’ version with piano accompaniment which is believed to come from the ‘50s, since it includes the reference to “grit” in the lyrics.



  1. Ol' Man River (Paul Robeson)
  2. Mighty Lak' A Rose (Paul Robeson)
  3. Carry Me Back To Green Pastures (Paul Robeson)
  4. It Ain't Necessarily So (Paul Robeson)
  5. Lazy Bones (Paul Robeson)
  6. River, Stay 'Way From My Door (Paul Robeson)
  7. Rockin' Chair (Paul Robeson)
  8. St Louis Blues (Paul Robeson)
  9. When It's Sleepy Time Down South (Paul Robeson)
  10. Little Man You've Had A Busy Day (Paul Robeson)
  11. Song Of The Volga Boatman (Paul Robeson)
  12. Mood Indigo (Paul Robeson)
  13. Shortnin' Bread (Paul Robeson)
  14. Sleepy River (Paul Robeson)
  15. The Banjo Song (Paul Robeson)
  16. Just Keepin' On (Paul Robeson)
  17. Lazin' (Paul Robeson)
  18. Roll Away Clouds (Paul Robeson)
  19. Round The Bend Of The Road (Paul Robeson)
  20. Solitude (Paul Robeson)
  21. A Woman Is A Sometime Thing (Paul Robeson)
  22. Take Me Away From The River (Paul Robeson)
  23. Canoe Song (Paul Robeson)


  1. John Henry (Paul Robeson)
  2. Water Boy (Paul Robeson)
  3. Deep River (Paul Robeson)
  4. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (Paul Robeson)
  5. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Paul Robeson)
  6. An Eriskay Love Lilt (Paul Robeson)
  7. All Through The Night (Paul Robeson)
  8. Jerusalem (Paul Robeson)
  9. Song Of Freedom (Paul Robeson)
  10. Bear The Burden (Paul Robeson)
  11. Balm In Gilead (Paul Robeson)
  12. By And By (Paul Robeson)
  13. Sea Fever (Paul Robeson)
  14. Were You There? (Paul Robeson)
  15. All God's Chillun Got Wings (Paul Robeson)
  16. Danny Boy (Paul Robeson)
  17. Mary Had A Baby, Yes Lord (Paul Robeson)
  18. Ode To Joy (Paul Robeson)
  19. We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder (Paul Robeson)
  20. Oh No John (Paul Robeson)
  21. On My Journey (aka On Ma Journey) (Paul Robeson)
  22. Ol' Man River (Paul Robeson)