Paul Robeson

A Man and His Beliefs

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Legacy International (not to be confused with Sony's reissue label, Legacy) licensed 16 of Paul Robeson's 1930s EMI recordings for this disc, which features folk songs, vintage popular tunes such as Stephen Foster's "Old Folks At Home," and adaptations of spirituals, such as Turner Layton and Henry Creamer's "Dear Old Southland," based on "Deep River." (Despite the suggestive album title, there is no political material.) Robeson is given a supportive orchestral accompaniment, and his sonorous voice is as impressive as usual. The unimproved CD sound is only fair, with a scratchy, hissy background, and the album's sparse annotations -- no recording dates, no songwriter credits -- mark this as a low-budget effort.

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