Friday, May 27, 2005

Did they all believe in liberty in those days? 

Michael Brooke has recently posted a marvellous selection of screenshots from a Soviet musical, full of sunshine, tractors and strong-muscled, enthusiastic workers. This timed well with my rediscovery of a CD I'd lost, featuring similarly earnest socialist songs and spirituals from Paul Robeson.

Easily the best of these - for entertainment value alone - is "Ballad For Americans", a straight-facedly patriotic song-cum-history lesson, which was very popular until it was learnt that its composer and singer were 'socialistic'. Fun parts include hearing Robeson get his tongue around a musical setting of the words to the bill of rights ("certain in-ail-ee-enn-able rights"), and his claim that he's "Baptist, Methodist, Congregationalist, Luthern, Atheist, Roman Catholic, (Moslem) Jewish, Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist,Mormon, Quaker, Christian Scientist and lots more"...

This song (and Robeson stuff more generally) is well worth a listen if you can get hold of it; though I doubt it quite matches up to Michael's tractors and golden hay...

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