Paul Robeson - 20 Favourite Songs & Transatlantic Exchange Concert
The story of how the tapes of the 20 songs recorded in March of 1954 came to be “re-discovered” is interesting. They were originally given by Paul Robeson to the late Peter Blackman, a man of Barbadian descent who was an active trade unionist and socialist poet in England. He is best remembered for his pamphlet of poems “My song is for all men”, and it is obvious that there was a close affinity between him and Paul Robeson on many counts. On his passing, his son, also named Peter Blackman, found the tapes among his belongings, and loaned them to Mike Lewis a retired BBC engineer who is the brother of Roger Lewis, Secretary of the South Wales Miners’ Eisteddfod. Mike’s connection with the tapes go further, as he was a member of the Treorchy Male Voice Choir which sang at Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion on October 5th, 1957, when Paul Robeson made his historic and defiant “Transatlantic Exchange” broadcast.
This CD contains the 20 tracks included on those tapes given by Paul Robeson to Peter Blackman, and also a new version of the actual Transatlantic Exchange concert itself. The songs sung by Paul Robeson during that historic event are taken from the tapes recorded during the broadcast in the studio in New York, rather than the version heard over the telephone in the Grand Pavilion, which explains why they are “cleaner” than any version issued before now. We are extremely grateful to Mike Price for the professional work he made on all these tracks, to ensure they can now be enjoyed in optimum conditions.