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Complete EMI Sessions: 1928-1939

The Complete EMI Sessions: 1928-1939

by Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson was one of the towering figures of the 20th Century. In his youth he was an outstanding athlete and Phi Beta Kappa scholar, and he then went on to achieve fame as an actor, singer, recording artist, and film star. Later in life he espoused a number of political causes, including the civil rights movement, and fought passionately for the betterment of all


Paul Robeson was one of the towering figures of the 20th Century. In his youth he was an outstanding athlete and Phi Beta Kappa scholar, and he then went on to achieve fame as an actor, singer, recording artist, and film star. Later in life he espoused a number of political causes, including the civil rights movement, and fought passionately for the betterment of all people around the globe. His controversial support of Soviet Russia at the height of the Cold War put him at odds with the US government, and in the 1950s Robeson was shunned by TV, radio, and concert stages, and was forbidden to travel outside of the United States. This government-imposed silence has meant that many younger listeners aren’t familiar with Robeson or his remarkable legacy, including his criminally neglected recordings.

EMI Classics is now proud to release a 7-CD boxed set of the complete recordings Robeson did for the label, a collection of 170 songs as important historically as it is musically. The material contained in this set is a testament to his diverse and uniformly outstanding talent, ranging from spirituals to show tunes to British folk songs to classical and art songs. Each piece in this remarkably varied repertoire gains new layers of meaning thanks to Robeson’s profound bass, and his sensitive, expressive phrasing. The sense of struggle and triumph is palpable in songs such as “Shenandoah,” “Summertime,” “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes,” and “Ol’ Man River” (Robeson’s signature song, of which there are three different versions here).

Many of the songs in this set are appearing for the first time on CD, and all have been newly transferred and digitally re-mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios (the set also includes the first published recording from the studio). From the Label

Product Details

Release Date:
Warner Classics


Disc 1

  1. Ol' Man River, song (from "Show Boat")
  2. Seem Lak' to Me, song
  3. Down de Lover's Lane
  4. Scandalize My Name
  5. Sinner, Please Don't Let This Harvest Pass
  6. Weepin' Mary, spiritual
  7. I Want to Be Ready, spiritual
  8. My Lord, What a Morning
  9. De li'l pickaninny's gone to sleep, song
  10. Git on Board, L'il Chillen, spiritual
  11. There's No Hiding Place
  12. Part 1. So Early in the Morning; Carry Me Back to Old Virginia; Old Fol
  13. Part 2. Away Down South in Dixie; Poor Old Joe; Oh, Susanna; My Old Ken
  14. Oh Rock Me Julie, song
  15. Oh! Didn't It Rain
  16. Mammy (aka "My Mammy")
  17. Roll Away, Clouds (from the musical Virginia)
  18. Sonny Boy, song
  19. Little Pal (from the film Say It With Song)
  20. The Lonesome Road, song
  21. Just Keepin' On
  22. Mighty Lak' a Rose, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  23. Mammy Is Gone, song

Disc 2

  1. Hail the Crown, spiritual
  2. An Exhortation, song
  3. I Stood on de Ribber ob Jordan, spiritual
  4. Go Down Moses
  5. High Water, song
  6. Swanee River
  7. Old Black Joe, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  8. My Old Kentucky Home, for voice & piano
  9. Ol' Man River, song (from "Show Boat")
  10. River, stay 'way from my door
  11. Rockin' Chair
  12. Medley of Spirituals
  13. My Heart Is Where the Mohawk Flows Tonight, song
  14. The Folks I Used to Know, song
  15. Mary Had A Baby
  16. Lil' Gal, song
  17. Bear the Burden in the Heat of the Day
  18. That's Why Darkies Were Born, song (from George White's Scandals of 192
  19. When it's Sleepy-Time Down South
  20. I Am Seeking for a City

Disc 3

  1. Nearer My God to Thee
  2. There is a green hill far away, for voice & piano or organ
  3. Mah Lindy Lou
  4. Ma Curly-headed Baby (Babby) for voice & piano
  5. The Pilgrim's Song, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  6. Roll the Old Chariot Along, spiritual
  7. Since You Went Away
  8. Wid de Moon, Moon, for voice & piano
  9. Got the South in My Soul
  10. Hush-a-Bye Lullaby, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  11. Round the Bend of the Road, song
  12. Take Me Away from the River, song
  13. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  14. On Ma Journey
  15. By an' by
  16. Were You There when They Crucified My Lord?, spiritual
  17. Swing Along
  18. Piccaninny Shoes, song
  19. In a Narrow Street, song
  20. Carry Me Back to Green Pastures
  21. Lazy Bones
  22. Blue Prelude
  23. Paul Robeson Medley, Part 1: Roll de Ole Chariot; Mary Had a Baby; Swin
  24. Paul Robeson Medley, Part 2: Carry Me Back; Mighty Lak' a Rose; Round t

Disc 4

  1. Fat L'il Feller wid his Mammy's Eyes
  2. Shortnin' Bread, song
  3. Snowball, song
  4. Water Boy, folk song
  5. Don't You Cry, My Honey, song
  6. Steal Away to Jesus, spiritual
  7. Scarecrow
  8. Wagon Wheels
  9. So Shy, song
  10. Piccaninny Slumber Song
  11. St. Louis Blues, song
  12. Mammy's Little Kinky-Headed Boy, song
  13. Little Man, You've Had a Busy Day
  14. I Ain't Lazy, I'm Just Dreamin', song
  15. Banjo Song
  16. Paul Robeson Medley No. 2: Lazy Bones; Scarecrow; Fat Li'l Feller; Wago
  17. Love Song
  18. Congo Lullaby
  19. Canoe Song
  20. Killing Song
  21. Shenandoah, folk song
  22. Jes' Mah Song, for voice & piano
  23. De Ol' Ark's a-Moverin', spiritual
  24. Ezekiel Saw de Wheel
  25. Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho

Disc 5

  1. Honey (Dat's All)
  2. Szomorú Vasárnap (Gloomy Sunday)
  3. Ol' Man River, song (from "Show Boat")
  4. I Still Suits Me, song (from 1936 film "Show Boat")
  5. Sleepy River, for 2 voices & orchestra
  6. Lonely Road (for film Song of Freedom)
  7. Song of Freedom, song
  8. Black Emperor
  9. Mam'selle Marie
  10. There's No Hiding Place
  11. Oh! No, John, folk song
  12. Passing By
  13. Hammer Song
  14. Little David, Play on Your Harp, spiritual
  15. My Way, song (for the film Jericho)
  16. Golden River, song (for the film Jericho)
  17. Ho! Ho! (Wagon Song)
  18. Climbing Up (The Mountain Song)
  19. Lazin' (from "Big Fella"), song
  20. I Don't Know What's Wrong, song
  21. Roll Up Sailorman, song (from "Big Fella")
  22. You Didn't Oughta Do Such Things, song
  23. Deep Desert, song (for the film Jericho)
  24. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
  25. Minstrel Man (poem)
  26. O Grieve You Now My Mother

Disc 6

  1. Dere's A Man Goin' Roun' Takin' Names
  2. Study War No More, spiritual
  3. Work All de Summer
  4. Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?
  5. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night)
  6. Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through the Night), folk song
  7. Solitude
  8. Mood Indigo
  9. Summertime (Lullaby)
  10. It Take A Long Pull To Get There
  11. It Ain't Necessarily So
  12. A Woman Is A Sometime Thing
  13. Just a-Wearyin' for You, for voice & piano
  14. At Dawning for voice & piano (or orchestra), Op. 29
  15. Eh, Ukhnyem (Song of the Volga Boatmen), folk song
  16. Eriskay Love Lilt
  17. Encantadora Maria
  18. Ride Up in the Chariot, spiritual
  19. Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit, spiritual
  20. Lay Down Late, song
  21. After the Battle
  22. David of the White Rock (Dafydd y Garreg Wen), folk song
  23. Trees, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  24. Songs my mother taught me (Als die alte Mutter), song for voice & piano
  25. Loch Lomond
  26. Drink To Me Only

Disc 7

  1. Down de Lover's Lane
  2. Lullaby
  3. Night
  4. The Little Black Boy
  5. Dear Old Southland, for voice & orchestra
  6. Jerusalem ("And did those feet in ancient time"), for chorus & organ (o
  7. The Blind Ploughman, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  8. The Cobbler's Song (from the operetta Chu Chin Chow)
  9. Oh, Could I in Song Tell My Sorrow for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  10. Love at My Heart, song
  11. Nothin', song
  12. The Rosary, for voice & piano
  13. A Perfect Day, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  14. Absent
  15. Dark eyes ("Ochi chornye," "Black Eyes"), folk song
  16. Oh Promise Me
  17. Plaisir d'amour, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  18. Sylvia for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  19. She Is Far from the Land
  20. Thora, ballad for voice & piano
  21. Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal for voice & piano, Op. 3/2
  22. Sea fever, for voice & piano
  23. Who is this so weak and helpless (Tune: Ebenezer (Ton Y Botel)) (New En
  24. Hen wlad fy nhadau (Land of My Fathers, Welsh National Anthem)
  25. Deep River, spiritual
  26. Lord God of Abraham; Baal Chorus

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Paul Robeson   Primary Artist,Vocals
Lawrence Brown   Piano,Vocals
Jack Hylton   Conductor
Ray Noble   Conductor
Carroll Gibbons   Conductor
Elisabeth Welch   Vocals
Herman Finck   Conductor
Muir Mathieson   Conductor
Drury Lane Theatre Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Clifford Greenwood   Conductor
Walter Goehr   Conductor
Ronnie Munro   Conductor
Percival Mackey   Conductor
Eric Ansell   Conductor
Lawrence D. Brown   Piano,Vocals
Mayfair Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Van Phillips   Conductor
Ruthland Clapham   Piano
Mississippi Chorus   Choir, Chorus
Dowson Herbert   Organ
Ernest Irving   Conductor
Jack Hylton & His Orchestra   Performing Ensemble

Technical Credits

Arthur Somervell   Arranger
Charles Villiers Stanford   Arranger
Paul Robeson   Arranger
Eubie Blake   Composer
Herb Ellis   Engineer
Langston Hughes   Composer
Lawrence Brown   Arranger
Irving Mills   Composer
Dennis Collins   Liner Note Translation
William Blake   Text
Jimmy Kennedy   Composer
Noble Sissle   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Dudley Buck   Arranger
Harry (Henry) Thacker Burleigh   Arranger
Barney Bigard   Composer
Lew Brown   Composer
Arthur "Babe"Clarke   Engineer
Eddie DeLange   Composer
Peter DeRose   Composer
Buddy DeSylva   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Ray Henderson   Composer
Ned Washington   Composer
Walter White   Arranger
Victor Young   Composer
Ethelbert Nevin   Composer
Hall Johnson   Arranger
William J. Dickson   Engineer
Angus McBean   Cover Photo
Walter Legge   Producer
Walter Goehr   Arranger
Clarence Muse   Composer
Avery Robinson   Arranger
Walter Samuels   Composer
Michael Carr   Composer
Mabel Wayne   Composer
Alexander Alexandrov   Arranger
Unspecified Enemies   Composer
Rosa Newmarch   Arranger
Traditional   Composer
Eric Ansell   Composer
Lawrence D. Brown   Arranger
Alexander Hoffmann   Composer
J. Keirn Brennan   Composer
Spoken Wordz   Composer
William Dickson   Engineer
Harry Fleming   Engineer
Edward Gower   Engineer
Patrick O'Connor   Liner Notes
F. Rennie   Engineer
F.C. Bulkley   Engineer
Marjory Kennedy-Fraser   Arranger
Harold Davidson   Engineer
James Weldon Johnson   Arranger
Eckhardt van den Hoogen   Liner Note Translation
Douglas Larter   Engineer
Ruthland Clapham   Arranger
Edward Fowler   Engineer
J. H. Ellis   Engineer
Ernest Irving   Arranger
C.C. Blyton   Engineer
Alexander Alexandrov   Arranger
George Dillnutt   Engineer

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